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Developing Savoring Interventions for Use in Multicultural Contexts: Bridging the East-West Divide

  • Jennifer L. SmithEmail author
  • Soyeon Kim
  • Fred B. Bryant
Chapter

Abstract

Savoring is the capacity to attend to positive experiences and intentionally engage in thoughts and behaviors to regulate positive feelings that arise during those experiences. Greater enjoyment can occur through an increase in savoring responses that amplify the duration and intensity of positive feelings or through a decrease in responses that dampen positive feelings. Savoring is associated with greater psychological well-being, and evidence supports the effectiveness of savoring interventions for increasing happiness and life satisfaction. However, most savoring interventions, and positive psychological interventions more broadly, have been developed from a Western perspective, and may not be optimal for use in other cultures. Indeed, research suggests that the cultural backgrounds of participants should be considered before implementing savoring interventions. Differences in collectivistic versus individualistic motivations, fear of happiness, dialectical thinking, and traditional Asian (Confucian) values versus traditional Western values may limit the applicability of Western-based savoring interventions in Eastern cultures. For instance, a savoring intervention developed in a Western culture and designed to amplify positive feelings might not be appropriate for recipients who adhere to traditional Asian values, such as emotional self-control and humility. Instead, when implemented in an Eastern culture, this type of savoring intervention might better be modified to reduce dampening rather than to increase amplifying in response to positive events. This chapter provides a theoretical and empirical overview of savoring, describes key differences in savoring between Western and Eastern cultures, and discusses the implications of East-West cultural distinctions for shaping interventions designed to enhance savoring in the two types of cultures. Synthesizing these conceptual distinctions, we present an integrative heuristic model that provides a conceptual lens through which researchers can adapt savoring interventions across Eastern and Western cultures.

Keywords

Savoring Cross-cultural Psychological intervention Emotion regulation Collectivism 

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer L. Smith
    • 1
    Email author
  • Soyeon Kim
    • 2
  • Fred B. Bryant
    • 2
  1. 1.Mather LifeWays Institute on AgingEvanstonUSA
  2. 2.Loyola University ChicagoChicagoUSA

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