The relative importance of emotions versus normative beliefs for life satisfaction judgments was compared among individualist and collectivist nations in 2 large sets of international data (in total, 61 nations, N = 62,446). Among nations, emotions and life satisfaction correlated significantly more strongly in more individualistic nations (r = .52 in Study 1; r = .48 in Study 2). At the individual level, emotions were far superior predictors of life satisfaction to norms (social approval of life satisfaction) in individualist cultures, whereas norms and emotions were equally strong predictors of life satisfaction in collectivist cultures. The present findings have implications for future studies on cultural notions of well-being, the functional value of emotional experiences, and individual differences in life satisfaction profiles.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science