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Title: The effectiveness of somatization in communicating distress in Korean and American cultural contexts
Authors: Choi, Eunsoo
Chentsova-Dutton, Yulia
Parrott, W. Gerrod
Keywords: culture
distress
emotions
somatization
communication
empathy
Issue Date: 23-Mar-2016
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Journal title: Frontiers in Psychology
Volume: 7
Thesis number: 383
Abstract: Previous research has documented that Asians tend to somatize negative experiences to a greater degree than Westerners. It is posited that somatization may be a more functional communication strategy in Korean than American context. We examined the effects of somatization in communications of distress among participants from the US and Korea. We predicted that the communicative benefits of somatic words used in distress narratives would depend on the cultural contexts. In Study 1, we found that Korean participants used more somatic words to communicate distress than US participants. Among Korean participants, but not US participants, use of somatic words predicted perceived effectiveness of the communication and expectations of positive reactions (e.g., empathy) from others. In Study 2, we found that when presented with distress narratives of others, Koreans (but not Americans) showed more sympathy in response to narratives using somatic words than narratives using emotional words. These findings suggest that cultural differences in use of somatization may reflect differential effectiveness of somatization in communicating distress across cultural contexts.
Rights: © 2016 Choi, Chentsova-Dutton and Parrott. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2433/214327
DOI(Published Version): 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00383
PubMed ID: 27047414
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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