Schunk, Fabian

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Fabian
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Different functions of emotion regulation in linking harmony seeking and rejection avoidance to life satisfaction and social support in Germany, Hong Kong, and Japan

2023, Schunk, Fabian, Wong, Natalie, Nakao, Gen, Trommsdorff, Gisela

This study examined whether two facets of interdependence, harmony seeking and rejection avoidance, were differently related to life satisfaction and social support from friends across cultures through the differential use of emotion regulation strategies. Specifically, we propose that individuals who seek harmony and avoid rejection regulate emotions differently to achieve social adaptation in their sociocultural contexts. University students from Germany (n = 129), Hong Kong (n = 136), and Japan (n = 123) completed our online survey. Data were analysed through multigroup structural equation modelling. Across cultures, harmony seeking was positively while rejection avoidance was negatively related to indices of social functioning (life satisfaction or social support). For Germans, emotion regulation (more rumination, less reappraisal, more suppression) completely mediated the associations of rejection avoidance with life satisfaction. Germans may emotionally overreact when fearing rejection, which is reflected in using dysfunctional emotion regulation strategies. In contrast, rejection avoidance was only weakly related to emotional dysregulation among Hong Kong Chinese and Japanese who might be adapted to fearing exclusion due to living in low relational mobility societies. Our findings demonstrate cultural similarities and differences in the interplay of harmony seeking and rejection avoidance with emotion regulation, life satisfaction, and social support.