Societal emotional environments and cross-cultural differences in life satisfaction: A forty-nine country study

Kuba KRYS, June Chun YEUNG, Colin A. CAPALDI, Vivian Miu-Chi LUN, Claudio TORRES, Wijnand A. P. VAN TILBURG, Michael Harris BOND, John M. ZELENSKI, Brian W. HAAS, Joonha PARK, Fridanna MARICCHIOLO, Christin-melanie VAUCLAIR, Aleksandra KOSIARCZYK, Agata KOCIMSKA-ZYCH, Anna KWIATKOWSKA, Mladen ADAMOVIC, Vassilis PAVLOPOULOS, Márta Fülöp, David SIRLOPU, Ayu OKVITAWANLIDiana BOER, Julien TEYSSIER, Arina MALYONOVA, Alin GAVRELIUC, Yukiko Uchida, Ursula SERDAREVICH, Charity AKOTIA, Lily APPOH, Arévalo Mira, D.M., Arno BALTIN, Patrick DENOUX, Alejandra DOMINGUEZ-ESPINOSA, Carla Sofia ESTEVES, Vladimer GAMSAKHURDIA, Ragna B. Garðarsdóttir, David O. IGBOKWE, Eric R. IGOU, İdil Işık, Natalia Kascakova, Lucie Klůzová Kračmárová, Nicole KRONBERGER, J. Hannah LEE, Xinhui LIU, Pablo Eduardo Barrientos, Tamara Mohorić, Nur Fariza MUSTAFFA, Oriana MOSCA, Martin NADER, Azar NADI, Yvette VAN OSCH, Zoran Pavlović, Iva Poláčková Šolcová, Muhammad RIZWAN, Vladyslav ROMASHOV, Espen Røysamb, Ruta SARGAUTYTE, Beate SCHWARZ, Lenka Selecká, Heyla A. Selim, Maria STOGIANNI, Chien-Ru SUN, Cai XING, Vivian L. VIGNOLES

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we introduce the concept of ‘societal emotional environment’: the emotional climate of a society (operationalized as the degree to which positive and negative emotions are expressed in a society). Using data collected from 12,888 participants across 49 countries, we show how societal emotional environments vary across countries and cultural clusters, and we consider the potential importance of these differences for well-being. Multilevel analyses supported a ‘double-edged sword’ model of negative emotion expression, where expression of negative emotions predicted higher life satisfaction for the expresser but lower life satisfaction for society. In contrast, partial support was found for higher societal life satisfaction in positive societal emotional environments. Our study highlights the potential utility and importance of distinguishing between positive and negative emotion expression, and adopting both individual and societal perspectives in well-being research. Individual pathways to happiness may not necessarily promote the happiness of others.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-130
Number of pages14
JournalThe Journal of Positive Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date30 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by the Polish National Science Centre under grant 2016/23/D/HS6/02946; the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science under grants P17806 and 17F17806; the Hungarian OTKA under grant K-111 789; the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development – CNPq under grant 301298/2018-1; the Czech Science Foundation CSF under grant 20-08583S; the National Natural Science Foundation of China under grant 71873133; and the Department of Educational Studies, University of Roma Tre under biannual Grant DSF 2017-2018.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Latin America
  • culture
  • life satisfaction
  • emotion expression
  • emotion regulation
  • societal well-being
  • Societal emotional environment


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