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Title:Focusing on the Good Versus Focusing on the Bad: An Analysis of East -West Differences in Subjective Well-Being
Author(s):Wirtz, Derrick Ryan
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Chiu, Chi-Yue; Ed Diener
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Social
Abstract:Research on subjective well-being has often found that individuals sharing an Eastern cultural heritage (East Asians and Asian Americans) report lower levels of positive affect and life satisfaction than those from a Western cultural background (Europeans and North Americans). In three studies, support was found for the hypothesis that such differences may be due to the psychological meanings Easterners and Westerners attach to positive and negative affect. Study 1 compared Asian and European Americans' on-line experiences of positive and negative affect during a vacation with their recalled affect post-vacation. Recalled affect was generally inflated, and European Americans recalled more intense positive affect than Asian Americans, and Asian Americans recalled more intense negative affect than European Americans. Further, European Americans relied on their recalled positive affect more than recalled negative affect when rating the degree to which they would like to take a similar vacation in the future. Among Asian Americans, the reverse effect was found. Study 2 found a similar pattern when rating satisfaction with a personal friendship, controlling for the magnitude of recalled affect. In Study 3, European Americans were found to be more likely to attribute positive events to themselves than others, and Asian American to others than themselves. Changes in Westerners' life satisfaction were predicted by the degree to which they viewed positive events as caused by the self (vs. others), and changes in Easterners' life satisfaction were predicted by the degree to which they reported experiencing negative events attributable to others (vs. the self).
Issue Date:2004
Description:69 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3153464
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2004

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