Научная статья на тему 'Cultural variations in ideal and momentary hedonic balance: does a more negative ideal protect Russian Americans from daily stress?'

Cultural variations in ideal and momentary hedonic balance: does a more negative ideal protect Russian Americans from daily stress? Текст научной статьи по специальности «Психология»

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гедонистический баланс / культура / стресс

Аннотация научной статьи по психологии, автор научной работы — Yulia Chentsova Dutton, Eunsoo Choi , Andrew Ryder

Хорошо известно, что восприятие стресса связано с повышенным уровнем негативных эмоций и пониженным уровнем позитивных эмоций. Гораздо меньше исследован вопрос о том, насколько это восприятие зависит от идеального и текущего уровня гедонистического баланса (или разницы между интенсивностью позитивных и негативных эмоций) в различных культурных контекстах. Преобладающие модели эмоций зависят от культурной среды. Например, считается, что русский культурный контекст поощряет более низкий гедонистический баланс, чем культурные контексты Северной (например, США) или Центральной и Южной Америки (например, Мексика). В исследовании принимали участие 32 американца европейского происхождения, 25 иммигрантов из Центральной и Южной Америки, 33 иммигранта азиатского происхождения и 20 иммигрантов русского происхождения. Участники описали уровень своего идеального и текущего гедонистического баланса. Текущие уровни гедонистического баланса описывались в случайно выбранные моменты в течение 10 дней. Уровень восприятия стресса был измерен дважды, в начале и в конце исследования. Исследование выявило культурные различия в идеальном и текущем гедонистическом балансе. Оба этих показателя оказались значительно более низкими у участников русского происхождения, чем у участников из Центральной и Южной Америки. В целом по выборке, низкий уровень гедонистического баланса статистически предсказывал высокий уровень стресса. В отличие от остальных групп, низкий уровень идеального гедонистического баланса (те эмоции, которые участники хотели бы испытывать в идеале) предсказал пониженный уровень стресса среди русских участников. Эти данные соответствуют предположению, что русская культурная модель эмоций формирует не только представления об идеальных эмоциях, но и текущие сиюминутные эмоции. При этом низкий уровень идеального гедонистического баланса противодействует потенциально стрессогенному влиянию низкого текущего гедонистического баланса среди русских испытуемых.

The association between perceived stress with heightened negative emotions and dampened positive emotions is well established. Much less clear, however, is the extent to which ideal and experienced levels of hedonic balance (i.e., the difference in intensities between positive and negative emotions) predict stress across cultural contexts. There is wide cultural variation in dominant models of emotions; for example, the Russian cultural context is thought to emphasize low hedonic balance relative to European American or Hispanic American cultural contexts. Thirty-two European Americans, 25 Hispanic Americans, 33 Asian Americans, and 20 Russian Americans provided reports of ideal and momentary hedonic balance. Momentary reports were sampled over 10 days. Perceived levels of stress were assessed at the beginning and at the end of the study. There were cultural group differences in ideal and momentary hedonic balance, with Russian Americans reporting lower ideal and momentary hedonic balance than Hispanic Americans. Across cultural groups, lower levels of momentary hedonic balance were predictive of perceived stress. In the Russian American group, but not the other groups, lower ideal hedonic balance was associated with lower levels of perceived stress. These results suggest that the Russian cultural model of emotions shapes both ideal and momentary hedonic balance, with lower levels of ideal hedonic protecting against the potentially stressful impact of low experienced hedonic balance.

Текст научной работы на тему «Cultural variations in ideal and momentary hedonic balance: does a more negative ideal protect Russian Americans from daily stress?»

Психология. Журнал Высшей школы экономики. 2014. Т 11. № 1. С. 118-132.

CULTURAL VARIATIONS IN IDEAL AND MOMENTARY HEDONIC BALANCE: DOES A MORE NEGATIVE IDEAL PROTECT RUSSIAN AMERICANS FROM DAILY STRESS?

YU. CHENTSOVA-DUTTON, E. CHOI, A. RYDER

Yulia Chentsova Dutton — Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Georgetown University, PhD. Interests: culture and emotions, social support, cultural-clinical psychology.

E-mail: yec2@georgetown.edu

Address: 306 White-Gravenor Hall, 3700 O Street, NW, Washington, DC 20057

Eunsoo Choi — Department of Psychology, Georgetown University, MA, PhD candidate. Interests: culture and emotion, well-being, exchange of social support.

E-mail: ec378@georgetown.edu

Address: 306 White-Gravenor Hall, 3700 O Street, NW, Washington, DC 20057

Andrew Ryder — Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Concordia University, PhD. Interests: cultural-clinical psychology, depression, anxiety, personality, culture & emotion.

E-mail: andrew.ryder@concordia.ca

Address: 7141 Sherbrooke St. W., PY-146, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H4B 1R6

This study was funded by the Georgetown University Pilot Research Grant. The authors would like to thank Erin Morris, Valeria Palacios, Jenny Reyes, and Emily Shaw for their assistance with data collection.

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Abstract

The association between perceived stress with heightened negative emotions and dampened positive emotions is well established. Much less clear, however, is the extent to which ideal and experienced levels of hedonic balance (i.e., the difference in intensities between positive and negative emotions) predict stress across cultural contexts. There is wide cultural variation in dominant models of emotions; for example, the Russian cultural context is thought to emphasize low hedonic balance relative to European American or Hispanic American cultural contexts. Thirty-two European Americans, 25 Hispanic Americans, 33 Asian Americans, and 20 Russian Americans provided reports of ideal and momentary hedonic balance. Momentary reports were sampled over 10 days. Perceived levels of stress were assessed at the beginning and at the end of the study. There were cultural group differences in ideal and momentary hedonic balance, with Russian Americans reporting lower ideal and momentary hedonic balance than Hispanic Americans. Across cultural groups, lower levels of momentary hedonic balance were predictive of perceived stress. In the Russian American group, but not the other groups, lower ideal hedonic balance was associated with lower levels of perceived stress. These results suggest that the Russian cultural model of emotions shapes both ideal and momentary hedonic balance, with lower levels of ideal hedonic protecting against the potentially stressful impact of low experienced hedonic balance.

Keywords: hedonic balance, culture, perceived stress.

“I would like my children to live lives that are emotionally rich, to feel sad as well as happy, to love and to hate, to feel respect and contempt”. These words are from a qualitative interview about ideal emotions conducted by the first author with a Russian-American woman. This woman was asked about emotions she would ideally want her children to experience in their lives. Her description reflects the view that negative emotions are just as important as positive emotions, in stark contrast to the well-documented tendency of European American samples to describe positive emotions as more normative and desirable than negative emotions (Eid & Diener, 2001; Diener, Suh, Smith, & Shao, 1995) and to consider the pursuit of happiness as an important life goal (Hill et al., 2013). Yet, although she may seem unusual in the hedonically driven mainstream cultural context of the United States, this Russian-American participant’s

description fits well with what little is known about Russian cultural models of emotions.

Work in cultural studies and anthropology characterizes the Russian cultural context as one that emphasizes attending to and experiencing negative emotional states (Rancour-Laferriere, 2003; Ries, 1997). The limited empirical database supports this description. People in Russia are less likely than European Americans to say that feeling happy is important to them and less likely to report that pursuing happiness is an important personal goal (Lyubo-mirsky, 2000). The balance of reported positive and negative daily life events is lower in Russia than in the United States (Balatsky & Diener, 1993). Of course, it is possible that this pattern is due to cultural differences in objective life circumstances. Yet, even when Russians move away from Russia, this tendency persists. Russian immigrants to the Unites States report experienc-

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ing more frequent negative emotions than European Americans (Inkeles, 1954). Although this pattern may be due to acculturative stress, it is likely driven at least in part by the tendency of Russian participants to attend to negative information (Grossmann, Ellsworth & Hong, 2012; Inkeles, 1997). In sum, these emerging studies suggest that the Russian cultural context may foster low hedonic balance, or the desired or actual difference between intensities of positive and negative emotions (Schimmack, Radhakri-shnan, Oishi, Dzokoto, & Ahadi, 2002).

One issue that needs to be clarified, however, is the extent to which these findings are driven by Russian people’s notions of how they want to feel versus their in-the-moment emotional experiences. In this study, we use the momentary sampling method (i.e., repeatedly asking people about their emotions as they go through their daily lives) to examine whether cultural differences in models of emotions are reflected in people’s moment-to-moment emotional experiences.

Another question that remains unanswered is whether the Russian cultural model of emotions drives the tendency of Russian samples to report heightened levels of perceived stress. High levels of stress have been blamed for contributing to very high mortality rates in Russia (Jose et al., 1998; Leon & Shkolnikov, 1998), yet we do not have a good understanding of the extent to which they may be shaped by culture. In this study, we examine the extent to which ideal and momentary emotions contribute to heightened levels of stress in Russian American participants in comparison to those from other cultural contexts known to foster

different models of emotions (European American, Hispanic Americans, and Asian American). Before describing this study, we will first review briefly the currently available evidence on how culture shapes ideal and experienced emotions.

Cultural differences in ideal and experienced emotions

Emerging research indicates that although many aspects of people’s ideas about their emotions are similar across cultural contexts, culture does shape these ideas to some extent (e.g., whether it is good to feel or express emotions, the types of physiological or relational changes that are associated with them) (Eid & Diener, 2001; Matsumo-to, Yoo, & Fontaine, 2008; Philippot, & Rime, 1997; Schwartz, 2004; Uchida, Norasakkunkit & Kitayama, 2004). One set of ideas informing recent research involves people’s notions of which emotional states are considered desirable or ideal (Tsai, 2007). Studies demonstrate that cultural groups differ in their notions of how they would ideally want to feel. For example, participants from East Asian cultural contexts are relatively less likely to consider high arousal positive emotions (e.g., excitement) as ideal than are participants from European American or Hispanic cultural contexts (Ruby, Falk, Heine, Villa, & Silberstein, 2012; Tsai, Knutson, & Fung, 2006). The opposite is true for low arousal positive emotions (e.g., feeling calm). Moreover, East Asian cultural contexts appear to promote an ideal of both moderating emotions and balancing one’s positive and negative emotions, a style described as moderate dialectical (Miyamoto &

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Ryff, 2011; Schimmack, Oishi, & Die-ner, 2002). Although we know little about Russian models of ideal emotion, it appears that Russians may show a somewhat similar preference for a relatively well-diversified «emotional port-folio» with positive and negative emotions balancing each other out (see Chentsova-Dutton, Senft, Ryder, 2014 for a review). If so, Russian participants might prefer to experience lower hedonic balance than people from other cultural contexts that place emphasis on the experience and expression of positive emotions.

Although the effects tend to be more modest for reports of experienced emotions, cultural models of emotions are also reflected in these reports. Cultural group differences are particularly pronounced for the types of reports that ask people to evaluate their emotional states and introduce culturally based heuristics in their judgments of how they felt over the last week or how they feel in general (i.e., global or retrospective reports, Eid & Diener, 2001; Scollon, Diener, Oishi, & Biswas-Die-ner, 2004). Consistently with ethnographic evidence, one prior study reported that Russian students had low levels of global reports of well-being (Balatsky & Diener, 1993).

As we move away from global measures and toward sampling in-the-mo-ment emotions, cultural group differences become less pronounced and harder to detect. Yet, they have also been reported in laboratory studies of emotions as well as momentary sampling studies (Mesquita & Karasawa, 2002; Scollon, Diener, Oishi, & Biswas-Diener, 2004, 2005; Tsai et al., 2002). To our knowledge, no prior momentary sampling studies have included Rus-

sian participants. This gap in the literature needs to be addressed.

Cultural differences in the

relationship between ideal and momentary emotions and stress

One additional limitation of prior work is that very few studies have attempted to examine cultural variation in the links between ideal emotional states, experienced emotional states and affectively laden mental health/well-being constructs such as stress, depression or anxiety. These constructs are considered to be gold standards for assessing individuals’ and communities’ levels of psychological well-being. Yet, we know little about their affective determinants across cultural contexts. Although research shows that culture shapes the relation between experienced emotions and global estimates of life satisfaction (Schimmack et al., 2002; Suh, Diener, Oishi, & Triandis, 1998), few studies have examined whether culture is similarly implicated in the association of experienced emotions to negative indicators of well-being, such as perceived stress.

Perceived stress refers to subjective appraisal of the extent to which situations in one’s life are seen as stressful. This construct is known to be associated with heightened vulnerability to physical and mental illness and reduced adherence to health-promoting behavioral regiments (Bergdahl & Bergdahl, 2002; Cohen, Kamarch, & Mermel-stein, 1983; Cohen, Tyrrell, & Smith, 1993; Ng & Jeffery, 2003). Some studies suggest that perceived stress moderates the relation between negative life events and indicators of mental illness,

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such as depression (Kuiper, Olinger, & Lyons, 1986). As such, low perceived stress appears to be a critical element of mental health and well-being.

What is the relation between experienced emotions and perceived stress? Although we do know that heightened negative emotions and dampened positive emotions map onto perceived stress (Denollet & De Vries, 2006; van Eck, Berkhof, Nicolson, & Sulon, 1996), most studies have relied on global and retrospective measures of these emotions (but see: Stawski, Sliwinski, Almeida, & Smyth, 2008, for an exception). More studies are needed to examine whether perceived stress is similarly linked to emotions that are experienced in the moment.

Another limitation of prior work is that most studies of cultural group differences in emotions and stress have focused on comparing people from North American and East Asian cultural contexts. Less is known about many other cultural contexts that are also thought to differ in their models of emotions. For example, although both Russian and Hispanic cultural contexts are thought to be similar to East Asian cultural contexts in their levels of collectivism and corresponding emphasis on the interdependent model of the self (Oyserman, Coon, & Kemmelmeier, 2002), they promote different models of desirable emotions. Yet, ethnographic work as well as emerging empirical studies suggests that these contexts sharply diverge in their beliefs regarding the desirability of positive and negative emotional states. While Russian cultural models are thought to emphasize lower hedonic balance (Balatsky & Diener, 1993), Hispanic cultural models are thought to promote higher

hedonic balance, particularly in relational contexts (Klein, 2001).

The present study

The present study aims to build on extant lines of literature on cultural differences in ideas about hedonic balance and its momentary experiences. In particular, it extends prior work by comparing Russian American participants to participants from three other cultural groups that differ in their models of emotions (European American, Hispanic American, and Asian American). Although two of these groups have been a focus of many cultural comparisons (European Americans and Asian Americans), two are understudied (Russian Americans and Hispanic Americans). The present study examines positive and negative emotions experienced by individuals from these cultural contexts as they go about their daily lives. Finally, the study explores the ways in which ideal and momentary emotions jointly influence levels of perceived stress in people from these cultural contexts.

Based on prior work on cultural variations in ideal and momentary emotions, we anticipated that cultural groups in our study would differ in their ideas about ideal emotions as well as in their in-the-moment experiences of these emotions. We predicted that Russian Americans would value and experience lower hedonic balance than other cultural groups known to place higher emphasis on experience of positive emotions (i.e., European American, Hispanic Americans). We did not expect Russian Americans to differ significantly from Asian Americans in their ideal or momentary hedonic balance.

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Based on prior work on the affective correlates of life satisfaction, we also predicted that although momentary hedonic balance would be negatively associated with perceived stress across cultural groups, this relation would be stronger for groups that value higher hedonic balance (i.e., European Americans, Hispanic Americans) and weaker for groups that value lower hedonic balance (i.e., Russian Americans, Asian Americans). Thus, we predicted that the magnitude of the association between momentary hedonic balance and perceived stress would be weaker for Russian American and Asian American participants than for participants from other cultural groups.

Method

Data used in the present report are part of a larger dataset. Other variables in the same study assessed participants’ symptoms of depression and pleasure. They were included in order to test another set of hypotheses and are reported in detail elsewhere (Chent-sova-Dutton, Choi, Ryder, & Reyes, in press).

Participants

Participants were 32 European Americans (13 men, age M = 21.38; SD = 4.35), 25 Hispanic Americans (10 men; age M = 20.76; SD = 4.68), 33 Asian Americans (8 men; age M = = 22.18; SD = 5.05), and 20 Russian Americans (4 men; age M = 27.35; SD = 8.59). They were recruited through a psychology subject pool and community advertisements. Age differences were significant, F(3, 106) = 6.27, p < .01, with Russian American partici-

pants being significantly older than participants from all three other cultural groups. Statistically controlling for this difference did not affect the results.

In order to ensure that each study group was relatively homogeneous and clearly defined, potential participants were screened based on their cultural backgrounds, as assessed by self-report demographic questions about place of birth, place(s) where parents were born and raised, and ethnic origin of self and parents. Selected European Americans were born in the U.S. and had parents of Western European descent who were born and raised in the U.S. Selected Asian Americans were born in the U.S. or East Asian countries (China, Korea, Japan); and had parents of East Asian descent who were born and raised in East Asian countries. Selected Hispanic Americans were born in the U.S. or in Central or South America and had parents of Hispanic descent who were born and raised in Central or South America. Selected Russian Americans were born in the U.S. or the former Soviet Union and had parents of Russian descent who were born and raised in the former Soviet Union.

Measures

Perceived levels of stress. The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS; Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983) is a 10-item measure that captured rated intensity of participants’ levels of stress (e.g., “In the last month, how often have you been upset because of something that happened unexpectedly?”) using a 5-point rating scale (0 = “Never”, 4 = “Very often”). This scale was re -liable at baseline (Cronbach’s a = .91, ranging from .90 to .92 for individual

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cultural groups) and at the end of the study (Cronbach’s a = .87, ranging from .84 to .90 for individual cultural groups).

Ideal reports of hedonic balance. The Affect Valuation Index (Tsai et al, 2006) was used to examine participants’ reports of ideal hedonic balance. This measure included 13 items assessing ideal positive emotions (e.g., happy, content) and 7 items assessing ideal negative emotions (e.g., unhappy, fearful). It used a 5-point rating scale (1 = “Very slightly or not at all”, 5 = = “Extremely or all of the time”). Internal consistency of this measure was adequate for positive (Cronbach’s as ranging from .79 to .88 for individual cultural groups) and negative affect sca les (Cronbach’s as ranging from .74 to .79 for individual cultural groups), with the exception of the negative affect scale for Russian Americans (a = .58). Ideal hedonic balance was calculated by subtracting the mean level of ideal negative affect from the mean level of ideal positive affect (see Schimmack et al., 2002). Hence, higher values of ideal hedonic balance indicate that a participant desired higher levels of positive than negative affect.

Momentary reports of hedonic balance. Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire in response to each of the PDA prompts. Each time, they reported how they felt in the moment (e.g., “Immediately before the beep how calm did you feel?”) using a 5-point rating scale (1 = “None”, 5 =

= “Extreme”). We sampled reports of positive affect (aggregated ratings of feeling pleasant, calm, excited, happy, interested, and satisfied), and negative affect (aggregated ratings of feeling nervous, sad, stressed, upset, and irri-

tated). The remaining questions tapped other emotional states and were not relevant to the current study. Hedonic balance was calculated by subtracting the mean level of negative affect from the mean level of positive affect. Hence, higher values of momentary hedonic balance indicate that a participant experienced higher levels of positive than negative affect.

Data analytic approach for momentary reports. Multi-level mixed models with autoregressive covariance structure were used to examine whether cultural group, gender, or their interactions were associated with momentary reports of hedonic balance. This way of modeling data accounts for the fact that each of our participants provided repeated, and likely correlated, measurements of emotions over time. In this model, data for momentary reports of emotions were nested within participants.

Procedure

Participants signed informed consent documents and completed a packet of questionnaires, including measures of ideal affect and perceived stress. All questionnaires were administered in English. They were then trained to use personal digital assistants (PDA; Palm Z22; Palm USA, New York, NY) and asked to carry these PDAs with them at all times for ten days. The Experience Sampling Program [ESP; Barrett and Feldman Barrett, 2000] triggered the questionnaire on the PDAs at random intervals for a total of nine times a day. This sampling rate was chosen with an expectation that participants would miss some prompts (Christensen et al., 2003). Indeed, on average,

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participants missed approximately 3-4 daily prompts daily, completing 5-6 responses a day for a total average number that ranged from M = 55.40, SD = = 23.79 for Hispanic Americans to M = = 64.16, SD = 19.44 for European Americans. All prompts were delivered in English during participants’ waking hours. The time window for prompt delivery was customized according to each participant’s schedule (e.g., someone who typically woke up at 9 am did not get any prompts prior to that time). Each questionnaire initially took approximately 5 minutes to complete. With practice, participants reported filling out these forms in 1-2 minutes. Participants were asked to respond to prompts without any delay. When they did not respond immediately, the prompt disappeared and was not replaced. This was done to eliminate any memory biases from affecting momentary reports of emotions. Participants received course credits or monetary payment for their time and effort.

Results

Cultural similarities and differences in momentary reports of positive and negative emotions and hedonic balance

First, we examined whether cultural groups differed in their levels of momentary positive and momentary negative affect. The model for momentary reports of positive emotions revealed no cultural group differences, F(3, 204.71) = 1.09, p = .36. There were significant gender differences, F(1, 205.28) = 6.89, p = .009, with women (M = 2.59, SE = .04) reporting signifi-

cantly higher levels of momentary positive emotions than men (M = 2.39, SE = = .06). This pattern was not qualified by a culture by gender interaction, F(3, 204) = 1.10, p = .35. The model for momentary reports of negative emotions revealed no cultural or gender differences and no interactions, all F < 2.08, p > .10.

Finally, the model for momentary levels of hedonic balance revealed a significant main effect of the cultural group, F(3, 211.76) = 2.76, p = .04, with Russian Americans reporting significantly lower levels of hedonic balance (M = 0.74, SE = .14) than Hispanic Americans (M = 1.32, SE = .15), p = .03. Russian Americans’ levels of hedonic balance indicated that they tended to experience lower levels of positive relative to negative emotions in their daily life (95% CI: 0.41-1.02), whereas the opposite was true for Hispanic Americans (95% CI: 1.02-1.61). Levels of hedonic balance for European Americans (M = 0.94, SE = .12) and Asian Americans (M = 0.93, SE = .14) were in-between those of Russian Americans and Hispanic Americans and did not significantly differ from either of those groups.

Cultural similarities in ideal

hedonic balance and stress

Next, we examined whether cultural groups differed in their ideal hedonic balance using a two-way ANOVA (cultural group [European Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans; Russian Americans] X gender [male; female]). Cultural groups did not significantly differ from each other in their ideal hedonic balance, although there was a marginal difference,

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F(3, 102) = 2.68, p = .05, driven by the non-significant tendency of Russian Americans to report lower ideal hedonic balance than Hispanic Americans, LSD contrast p = .07. There were no gender differences or gender by cultural group interactions in ideal hedonic balance, both F < 2.29, p > .08.

We also examined whether cultural group differences in hedonic balance translated into different levels of stress during the same 10-day period of time. We conducted a two-way ANCOVA (cultural group [European Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans; Russian Americans] X gender [male; female]) for levels of perceived stress, controlling for its levels at the beginning of the study. This analysis showed no cultural group or gender differences and no interactions, all F< 2.18, p > .10.

Cultural similarities and differences in affective predictors of stress

Finally, we examined the relationship between changes in the participants’ momentary and ideal levels of hedonic balance and their levels of stress across cultural groups. In order to do so, we conducted a hierarchical linear regression. Baseline levels of stress were entered in Step 1 of the equation, cultural group were entered in Step 2 (with cultural group entered as 3 dummy-coded variables, with Asian Americans serving as the referent group), aggregated momentary levels of hedonic balance and ideal hedonic balance were entered in Step 3, the interactions between ideal and momentary hedonic balance were entered in Step 4, the interactions between cultural group and ideal levels of hedonic balance were entered in Step 5, and the

interactions between cultural group and momentary levels of hedonic balance were entered in Step 6. Additional models tested whether gender or its interactions with other predictors influences stress. We also examined the role of higher-order interactions. It was determined that none of these main effects or interactions were significant, hence they are not included in our presentation of these results.

See Table 1 for description of the results. Steps 1, 3, 4 and 5 of the model were associated with significant increases in the proportion of variance explained by the predictors. Step 5 indicated that participants’ levels of stress at the end of the study were significantly predicted by their higher baseline levels of stress, their lower in-the-moment hedonic balance, and a twoway interaction between cultural group (Russian Americans) and levels of ideal hedonic balance. For Russian Americans (B = .73, SE = .17, (3 = .51, t = 4.27, p < .01), but not for the other cultural groups (all absolute values of 3 < .03, ns), wanting to feel more positively than negatively was positively associated with higher levels of stress at the end of the study.

Discussion

This study is the first to compare ideal and momentary emotions across groups of Russian Americans, European Americans, Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans. We observed significant cultural differences in participants’ momentary levels of hedonic balance. Consistent with the ethnographic descriptions of cultural norms regarding emotions in Russian versus Cent-ral/South American cultural contexts,

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Table 1 Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analyses Predicting Levels of Stress

Predictor AR2 P (SE P)

Step 1 .43**

Baseline levels of stress .63 (.07)**

Step 2 .003

Baseline levels of stress .63 (.07)**

European Americans .03 (.16)

Hispanic Americans -.09 (.18)

Russian Americans -.04 (.18)

Step 3 .06**

Baseline levels of stress .56 (.08)**

European Americans .04 (.15)

Hispanic Americans .01 (.17)

Russian Americans -.01 (.18)

Ideal hedonic balance .11 (.09)

Momentary hedonic balance -.26 (.08)**

Step 4 .03*

Baseline levels of stress .57 (.08)**

European Americans .07 (.15)

Hispanic Americans .00 (.17)

Russian Americans .06 (.18)

Ideal hedonic balance -.58 (.30)*

Momentary hedonic balance -.25 (.08)**

Ideal X Momentary hedonic balance .15 (.06)*

Step 5 .05*

Baseline levels of stress .55 (.09)**

European Americans .57 (.70)

Hispanic Americans .18 (.66)

Russian Americans -1.41 (.74)

Ideal hedonic balance -.51 (.30)

Momentary hedonic balance -.24 (.08)**

Ideal X Momentary hedonic balance .12 (.07)

Russian Americans X Ideal hedonic balance .55 (.26)*

Hispanic Americans X Hedonic balance -.06 (.22)

European Americans X Hedonic balance -.17 (.23)

* p < .05, ** p < .01.

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the balance between intensity of positive and negative emotions was significantly lower for Russian Americans than for Hispanic Americans. Contrary to our prediction, European Americans did not significantly differ from Russian Americans in their hedonic balance, although the means were in the predicted direction. Notably, we did not observe significant cultural differences in either positive or negative momentary emotions. The variable that did differ across cultural groups was the balance between the two.

We also found that cultural differences in momentary hedonic balance did not translate into cultural differences in stress. Despite the fact that their hedonic balance was lower, Russian Americans did not appraise their lives as more stressful than Hispanic Americans. How do we make sense of this pattern of results? It appears that participants from different cultural groups in our study were both similar and different with respect to how they used momentary affective information in constructing their reports of perceived stress. On the one hand, higher momentary levels of hedonic balance were predictive of lower levels of stress. This relation held across cultural groups. On the other hand, groups that diverged in their moment-to-moment hedonic balance seemed to converge in their levels of stress for the same period of time, seemingly due to differences in their notions of ideal emotions. Russian Americans, but not members of other cultural groups in the study, tended to show a preference for experiencing lower levels of positive emotions than negative emotions. For this group, stress levels were driven by a combination of

momentary and ideal hedonic balance. Interestingly, higher ideal hedonic balance was associated with higher levels of stress, possibly due to the potential discrepancy experienced when one’s affective experiences do not meet one’s affective expectations, however negative they may be. In sum, although Russian Americans tended to experience lower balance of positive to negative emotions in their daily lives, their affective states were consistent with their notions of ideal emotions, with the relatively modest expectations for ideal hedonic balance softening the potentially negative effects of the experienced emotional states.

Of course, this study is not without serious limitations. First, our sample sizes were small. In addition, although our samples included students and community members, students predominated. Finally, our groups of Hispanic, Asian and Russian immigrants and sojourners living in the United States were all fluent in English and relatively acculturated to the mainstream European American culture. Thus, their responses may have differed from their counterparts in Central or South America, Russia, and East Asia in meaningful ways. Future studies need to examine larger and more representative samples of participants living in different countries.

In addition, our data do not allow us to confidently advance a causal interpretation of our findings. Although the timing of our data collection and the fact that we have adjusted our analyses for baseline levels of perceived stress suggest that ideal and experienced levels of hedonic balance affect perceived stress, it is possible that increases in perceived stress make some participants more vigilant of

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their affective states or more aware of their ideal emotions. Future experimental studies can induce emotions in the laboratory in an effort to examine the direction of causality.

If replicated, these results may have important implications for any future studies that use perceived stress as an indicator of well-being in individuals and groups. Prior work on perceived stress indicates that it is jointly determined by objective life circumstances, affective responses to these circumstances, and psychological factors, such as cognitive appraisal and metacognition (Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984; Spada, Nikcevic, Moneta, & Wells, 2008). Our results suggest that perceived stress can also be influenced by culturally shaped ideas about emotional experiences. Thus, it is critical for researchers to be mindful of the cultural context of their participants and assess their ideas about emotions in order to confidently interpret their data. The present data

also have implications for researchers and practitioners working with clinical samples, adding to the small but growing body of evidence suggesting that Russian models of emotions may affect experience and expression of emotional distress (see Jurcik, Chentsova-Dutton, Solopieva-Jurcikova, & Ryder, 2013).

In conclusion, our study suggests that descriptions of Russian affective culture as low in hedonic balance have some merit: the picture of moment-to-moment emotional lives of Russian immigrants living in the United States was colored more by negative than positive emotions. Yet, we also found that this pattern was not associated with heightened levels of stress, apparently due to the fact that it was not discrepant with the Russian notion that ideal emotional life is rich in both positive and negative emotions. Hence, our results suggest that the association of momentary emotion with measures of mental health, such as stress, depend on cultural models of emotion.

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Культурные различия и сходство в уровнях идеального и текущего гедонистического баланса и их влиянии на восприятие стресса

Юлия Евгеньевна Ченцова-Даттон

Джорджтаунский университет, Вашингтон, США E-mail: yec2@georgetown.edu

Ынсу Че

Джорджтаунский университет, Вашингтон, США E-mail: ec378@georgetown.edu

Эндрю Райдер

Университет Конкордия, Монреаль, Канада E-mail: andrew.ryder@concordia.ca

Резюме

Хорошо известно, что восприятие стресса связано с повышенным уровнем негативных эмоций и пониженным уровнем позитивных эмоций. Гораздо меньше исследован вопрос о том, насколько это восприятие зависит от идеального и текущего уровня гедонистического баланса (или разницы между интенсивностью позитивных и негативных эмоций) в различных культурных контекстах. Преобладающие модели эмоций зависят от культурной среды. Например, считается, что русский культурный контекст поощряет более низкий гедонистический баланс, чем культурные контексты Северной (например, США) или Центральной и Южной Америки (например, Мексика). В исследовании принимали участие 32 американца европейского происхождения, 25 иммигрантов из Центральной и Южной Америки, 33 иммигранта азиатского происхождения и 20 иммигрантов русского происхождения. Участники описали уровень своего идеального и текущего гедонистического баланса. Текущие уровни гедонистического баланса описывались в случайно выбранные моменты в течение 10 дней. Уровень восприятия стресса был измерен дважды, в начале и в конце исследования. Исследование выявило культурные различия в идеальном и текущем гедонистическом балансе. Оба этих показателя оказались значительно более низкими у участников русского происхождения, чем у участников из Центральной и Южной Америки. В целом по выборке, низкий уровень гедонистического баланса статистически предсказывал высокий уровень стресса. В отличие от остальных групп, низкий уровень идеального гедонистического баланса (те эмоции, которые участники хотели бы испытывать в идеале) предсказал пониженный уровень стресса среди русских участников. Эти данные соответствуют предположению, что русская культурная модель эмоций формирует не только представления об идеальных эмоциях, но и текущие сиюминутные эмоции. При этом низкий уровень идеального гедонистического баланса противодействует потенциально стрессогенному влиянию низкого текущего гедонистического баланса среди русских испытуемых.

Ключевые слова: гедонистический баланс, культура, стресс.