Cultural differences in the dialectical and non-dialectical emotional styles and their implications for health

Cognition & Emotion
Yuri Miyamoto, Carol D Ryff

Abstract

Previous cross-cultural studies have repeatedly demonstrated that East Asians are more likely to show a dialectical emotional style than Americans, but do not distinguish between specific types of dialectical emotional styles. Using an age diverse sample, we found that compared to Americans, Japanese are more likely to experience both positive and negative emotions moderately frequently (i.e., moderate dialectical), but are no more likely to experience them frequently (i.e., high dialectical). Thus, dialectical emotions prevalent in East Asia may be characterised by a "middle way" rather than by emotional extremes. Furthermore, we explored whether dialectical emotion types are associated with better health profiles depending on cultural background. Our results show that the moderate dialectical type is associated with fewer physical symptoms in Japan than in the USA. Together, these findings show the cultural differences in the experience of balanced positive and negative emotions and their health correlates.

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