An Integrated Analysis of Cultural Similarities and Differences in Supportive Communication
By Hairong Feng
Hairong Feng notes that people may experience negative life events which can result in such distressed emotional states as anxiety, sadness, frustration, embarrassment, or even fear. People often cope with these situations by seeking and receiving support from other people. That is why social support is such an important component of human interactions. While all people have upsetting things happen to them, how people react to such events may vary across culture, Feng assumes. That is why there may be similarities and differences across cultures in seeking, providing, and receiving support.
Comparing cultural groups typically leads to emphasizing the differences between these groups, Feng notes. Consequently, some researchers conclude that members of collectivistic cultures are less likely to seek social support when copying with stressors. The author, though, points out that only emphasizing cultural differences may not reflect the reality of social support across cultures. Successfully seeking support from and providing sensitive support to an individual from a different culture are based on a comprehensive understanding of both similarities and differences of social support. Research indicates, Feng points out, that sensitive support facilitates the development and maintenance of satisfying personal relationships and can contribute to the recipient’s physical and psychological health.
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