Family first: evidence of consistency and variation in the value of family versus personal happiness across 49 different cultures

Krys, Kuba, Yeung, June Ch, Haas, Brian W, van Osch, Yvette, Kosiarczyk, Aleksandra, Kocimska-Zych, Agata, Torres, Claudio, Selim, Heyla, Zelenski, John M, Bond, Michael Harris, Park, Joonha, Miu-Chi Lun, Vivian, Maricchiolo, Fridanna, Vauclair, Christin-Melanie, Vignoles, Vivian, others, , Unset and Unset (2022) Family first: evidence of consistency and variation in the value of family versus personal happiness across 49 different cultures. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. ISSN 0022-0221 (Accepted)

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People care about their own well-being, but also about the well-being of their families. It is currently however unknown how much people tend to value their own and their family’s well-being. A recent study documented that people value family happiness over personal happiness across four cultures. In this study, we sought to replicate this finding across a larger sample size (N = 12,819) and a greater number of countries (N = 49), We found that the strength of the idealization of family over personal happiness preference was small (average Cohen’s ds = .20 with country levels varying from -.02 to almost .48), but ubiquitous, i.e., direction presented in 98% of the studied countries, 73-75% with statistical significance and < 2% variance across countries. We also found that the size of this effect did vary somewhat across cultural contexts. In Latin American cultures highest on relational mobility, the idealization of family over personal happiness was very small (average Cohen’s ds for Latin America = .15 and .18), while in Confucian Asia cultures lowest on relational mobility, this effect was closer to medium (ds > .40 and .30). Importantly, we did not find strong support for traditional theories in cross-cultural psychology that associate collectivism with greater prioritization of the family versus the individual; country level individualism-collectivism was not associated with variation in the idealization of family versus individual happiness. Our findings indicate that no matter how much various populists abuse the argument of “protecting family life” to disrupt emancipation, family happiness seems to be a pan-culturally phenomenon. Family well-being is a key ingredient of social fabric across the world, and should be acknowledged by psychology and well-being researchers, and by progressive movements too.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: family, happiness, well-being, interdependent happiness, life satisfaction, culture, relational mobility
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2022 17:05
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2022 17:15

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