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Help-seeking tendencies and subjective well-being: A cross-cultural comparison of the United States and Japan.

Lua, V. Y. Q., Majeed, N. M., Hartanto, A., & Leung, A. K.-y.

April 2022


Help-seeking is commonly conceived as an instrumental behavior that improves people’s subjective well-being. However, most findings supporting a positive association between help-seeking and subjective well-being are observed in independence-preferring countries. Drawing from research demonstrating that the pathways to subjective well-being are culturally divergent, we posit that help-seeking tendencies may be detrimental to subjective well-being for members in interdependence-preferring countries where norms for preserving relational harmony and face concerns are prevalent. This study tested the moderating role of country in the relationship between help-seeking tendencies and subjective well-being using data from 5,068 American and Japanese participants. Results revealed that although help-seeking tendencies were associated with greater life satisfaction, higher positive affect, and lower negative affect among Americans, help-seeking tendencies were associated with poorer life satisfaction and lower positive affect among Japanese. We discuss the importance of adopting culturally sensitive perspectives when examining antecedents of subjective well-being.

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