Do Happy Events Love Company? Cultural Variations in Sharing Positive Events with Others

Choi, Hyewon, Psychology - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Oishi, Shigehiro, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia

This study examined cultural differences in the act of sharing positive events with others, called capitalization attempts. The first three studies tested whether the frequency of capitalization attempts differs between cultures using various methods: Self-reports (Study 1), children’s storybooks (Study 2), and Facebook (Study 3). With the exception of Study 2, we found that East Asians are less likely to share their positive events with others than European Americans. Study 4 further examined the antecedents and consequences of capitalization attempts. We replicated the earlier findings that East Asians are hesitant to tell about their positive events and this is because they are more concerned about negatively affecting their social relationships. Moreover, we found the cultural differences in the frequency of capitalization attempts account for mean-level differences in well-being between cultures. Implications for capitalization, culture, and well-being are discussed.

MA (Master of Arts)
Culture, Capitalization, Well-being, Relational concerns
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