Reflecting on negative personal experiences has implications for mood that may vary as a function of specific domains (e.g., achievement vs. interpersonal) and cultural orientation (e.g., interdependence vs. independence). This study investigated cultural differences in the social-cognitive and affective processes undertaken as Easterners and Westerners reflected on negative interpersonal and performance experiences. One hundred Asian Americans and 92 European-American college students were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: interpersonal rejection, achievement failure, or a control condition. Results revealed that Asian Americans experienced greater distress than European Americans after self-reflecting over a failed interpersonal experience, suggesting cultural sensitivity in the relational domain. Consistent with theoretical predictions, analysis of the social cognitive and affective processes that participants engaged in during self-reflection provided some evidence that self-enhancement may buffer distress for European Americans, while emotion suppression may be adaptive for Asian Americans.
- Negative self-reflection
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)