Culturally Divergent Consequences of Receiving Thanks in Close Relationships

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Abstract

We investigated consequences of receiving thanks in close relationships across cultures. Chinese reported more negative feelings than Euro-Canadians after a close other said thanks to them. Likewise, Chinese participants predicted, more than Euro-Canadians did, that a close other would experience negative feelings after receiving thanks from them. No cultural difference was found when receiving thanks from an acquaintance. On the other hand, when not receiving thanks from close others after helping them, Euro-Canadians experienced more negative feelings than did Chinese. We showed that beliefs about saying thanks in close relationships accounted for cultural differences in emotions. Implications for intercultural communication, relationship maintenance, and directions for future research are discussed.

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