Journal Article Social support in two cultures: Everyday transactions in the U.S. and empathic assurance in Japan

Morling, Beth  ,  Uchida, Yukiko  ,  Frentrup, Sandra

10 ( 6 ) 2015-06-24 , Public Library of Science
We studied received social support using the cross-cultural method of situation sampling. College students from the US and Japan described and rated recent examples of received social support, both everyday support as well as support in response to stress. Middle class, European-American (EuA) students’ situations fit a model in which support is frequent and offered freely in interactions, even for relatively minor issues. Even when it’s unrequested, EuA support makes recipients feel in control, and support-givers are perceived to have acted by free choice. In contrast, results suggest that middle-class Japanese (Jpn) contexts favor support that is empathic and responsive to the recipients’ degree of need. Japanese support was experienced positively when it was emotional support, when it was in more serious situations and when the support was rated as needed by the recipient. In Japan, although problem-based support is most common, it is not particularly positive, apparently because it is less likely to be perceived as needed.

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