Emotion regulation and culture: are the social consequences of emotion suppression culture-specific?

Emotion. 2007 Feb;7(1):30-48. doi: 10.1037/1528-3542.7.1.30.


Emotional suppression has been associated with generally negative social consequences (Butler et al., 2003; Gross & John, 2003). A cultural perspective suggests, however, that these consequences may be moderated by cultural values. We tested this hypothesis in a two-part study, and found that, for Americans holding Western-European values, habitual suppression was associated with self-protective goals and negative emotion. In addition, experimentally elicited suppression resulted in reduced interpersonal responsiveness during face-to-face interaction, along with negative partner-perceptions and hostile behavior. These deleterious effects were reduced when individuals with more Asian values suppressed, and these reductions were mediated by cultural differences in the responsiveness of the suppressors. These findings suggest that many of suppression's negative social impacts may be moderated by cultural values.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Culture*
  • Ethnic Groups / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Repression, Psychology*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Control, Informal*