Cross Cultural Variation in Emotion Regulation: A Systematic Review

Nosheen Ramzan, Naumana Amjad

Abstract


A systematic review of literature on emotion regulation is carried out with the aim to identify, analyze and compare the commonly used emotion regulatory strategies (cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression) in individualistic and collectivistic cultures including Pakistan and to study outcomes of different emotion regulation strategies in culture specific context. A systematic search has been conducted for required articles which have been published between 1990 and 2015. Only those studies have been included in the review which reported either cognitive reappraisal or expressive suppression in their findings. Review indicates that individualistic cultures prefer emotional expression to regulate emotions while collectivistic cultures, such as in Pakistan, focus more on expressive suppression. Emotional suppression can cause mental disease, physiological illness, and poor social and psychological adjustment. To sum up, culture predicts whether individuals are motivated to express or suppress their emotions. Collectivist culture encourages greatest control on emotion expression while interacting with family and friends with more emphasis on maintaining social harmony. On the other hand, individualistic culture endorses comparatively less expression of negative emotions especially towards strangers. Adjusting one’s emotion to the social environment is more important in cultural context.


Keywords


Cognitive appraisal; Expressive suppression; Individualistic; Collectivistic

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21649/akemu.v23i1.1512

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(C) Annals of KEMU, King Edward Medical University, Lahore, Pakistan.