Whether people regulate negative emotions during Covid-19 might inform mental health worldwide. Therefore, this project will test whether the motivation to decrease negative emotional experiences differs across cultures. The project will also test whether attempts to decrease negative emotions are equally beneficial across cultures. In one study, participants from 10 countries will indicate how much they wanted and tried to decrease negative emotions in themselves and in others during the pandemic. We will also assess emotional reactions, mental health, and well-being. We predict that members of independent cultures would be more motivated to decrease their negative emotional experiences in response to Covid-19, compared to members of interdependent cultures. We further predict that members of interdependent (but not independent) cultures would be more motivated to regulate the emotions of others than their own emotions. Finally, we predict that attempts to decrease negative emotions would be more beneficial in independent than in interdependent cultures. In a second study, we will conduct a content analysis of news websites in different cultures and their references to emotion regulation when covering the Covid-19 pandemic. We predict that websites in independent cultures will mention decreasing personal negative emotional experiences more frequently than websites in interdependent cultures. By testing links between emotion regulation and mental health in response to a severe, common, and global threat, our project could inform culturally sensitive interventions designed to facilitate healthy coping with current and future global threats.
Professor, Department of Psychology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Associate Professor, Georgetown University