Verbal and nonverbal methods for expressing appreciation in friendships and romantic relationships: A cross-cultural comparison
- ISSN: 01471767
- DOI: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2010.02.007
This study is part of a larger project investigating the influence of appreciation expression on relationship quality in high-context, collectivistic cultures and low-context, individualistic cultures. The expression of appreciation is fundamentally important to the health and quality of a close relationship, but it likely takes quite different forms and plays different roles in relationships within cultures as different as the United States and China. We asked 200 participants from these two countries to list specific methods they used for expressing appreciation in either a close friendship or a romantic relationship. Results of inductive and statistical analyses showed that U.S. participants relied about evenly on verbal and nonverbal methods of expressing appreciation, while Chinese participants favored nonverbal methods significantly over verbal ones. Americans used significantly more expressions of appreciation overall than the Chinese, largely due to much more reliance by Americans on verbal methods. Chinese used more indirect methods than did Americans. Differences in expressing appreciation due to relationship type and gender were limited.