Societal emotional environments and cross-cultural differences in life satisfaction: a forty-nine country study

Kuba Krys*, June Chun Yeung, Colin A. Capaldi, Vivian Miu Chi Lun, Claudio Torres, Wijnand A.P. van Tilburg, Michael Harris Bond, John M. Zelenski, Brian W. Haas, Joonha Park, Fridanna Maricchiolo, Christin Melanie Vauclair, Aleksandra Kosiarczyk, Agata Kocimska-Zych, Anna Kwiatkowska, Mladen Adamovic, Vassilis Pavlopoulos, Márta Fülöp, David Sirlopu, Ayu OkvitawanliDiana Boer, Julien Teyssier, Arina Malyonova, Alin Gavreliuc, Yukiko Uchida, Ursula Serdarevich, Charity Akotia, Lily Appoh, Arévalo Mira, D.M, Arno Baltin, Patrick Denoux, Alejandra Dominguez-Espinosa, Carla Sofia Esteves, Vladimer Gamsakhurdia, Ragna B. Garðarsdóttir, David O. Igbokwe, Eric R. Igou, İdil Işık, Natalia Kascakova, Lucie Klůzová Kračmárová, Nicole Kronberger, J. Hannah Lee, Xinhui Liu, Pablo Eduardo Barrientos, Tamara Mohorić, Nur Fariza Mustaffa, Oriana Mosca, Martin Nader, Azar Nadi, Yvette van Osch, Zoran Pavlović, Iva Poláčková Šolcová, Muhammad Rizwan, Vladyslav Romashov, Espen Røysamb, Ruta Sargautyte, Beate Schwarz, Lenka Selecká, Heyla A. Selim, Maria Stogianni, Chien Ru Sun, Cai Xing, Vivian L. Vignoles

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

In this paper, we introduce the concept of ‘societal emotional environment’: the emotional climate of a society (operationalized as the degree to which positive and negative emotions are expressed in a society). Using data collected from 12,888 participants across 49 countries, we show how societal emotional environments vary across countries and cultural clusters, and we consider the potential importance of these differences for well-being. Multilevel analyses supported a ‘double-edged sword’ model of negative emotion expression, where expression of negative emotions predicted higher life satisfaction for the expresser but lower life satisfaction for society. In contrast, partial support was found for higher societal life satisfaction in positive societal emotional environments. Our study highlights the potential utility and importance of distinguishing between positive and negative emotion expression, and adopting both individual and societal perspectives in well-being research. Individual pathways to happiness may not necessarily promote the happiness of others.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-130
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Positive Psychology
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Latin America
  • Societal emotional environment
  • Culture
  • Emotion expression
  • Emotion regulation
  • Life satisfaction
  • Societal well-being

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