Standing in the glory or shadow of the past self : cultures differ in how much the past self affects current subjective well-being
Date of Issue2012
College of Business (Nanyang Business School)
Research in the past 2 decades has made great strides in understanding cross-cultural differences in the correlates and causes of subjective well-being. On the basis of past findings on the cross-cultural differences in temporal perspectives of the self, the present research examined a cross-cultural difference in individuals' subjective well-being as a function of how positively they viewed their present and past selves. Study 1 showed that both European and Asian Americans had higher subjective well-being when they viewed their present selves more positively. However, positive evaluations of the past self were accompanied by higher subjective well-being only among Asian Americans. Study 2 showed that when induced to think positively (vs. negatively) of the present self, both European and Asian Americans judged their current lives more favorably. However, when led to view the past self positively (vs. negatively), only Asian Americans made more favorable judgments about their current lives.