Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 101, issue 2 (2011) pp. 401-414
Religion helps people maintain a sense of control, particularly secondary control-acceptance of and adjustment to difficult situations--and contributes to strengthening social relationships in a religious community. However, little is known about how culture may influence these effects. The current research examined the interaction of culture and religion on secondary control and social affiliation, comparing people from individualistic cultures (e.g., European Americans), who tend to be more motivated toward personal agency, and people from collectivistic cultures (e.g., East Asians), who tend to be more motivated to maintain social relationships. In Study 1, an analysis of online church mission statements showed that U.S. websites contained more themes of secondary control than did Korean websites, whereas Korean websites contained more themes of social affiliation than did U.S. websites. Study 2 showed that experimental priming of religion led to acts of secondary control for European Americans but not Asian Americans. Using daily diary methodology, Study 3 showed that religious coping predicted more secondary control for European Americans but not Koreans, and religious coping predicted more social affiliation for Koreans and European Americans. These findings suggest the importance of understanding sociocultural moderators for the effects of religion.
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