Cultural and gender differences in emotion regulation: Relation to depression

Hoin Kwon, K. Lira Yoon, Jutta Joormann, Jung Hye Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


In the last decade, studies have shown that the use of specific emotion regulation strategies contributes to an increased risk for depression. Past research, however, has overlooked potential cultural and gender differences in emotion regulation. The present study examined the relation between the use of emotion regulation strategies and depressive symptoms among college students in two different cultures (n=380 in Seoul, Korea; n=384 in Miami, USA). Koreans, compared with American students, reported more frequent use of brooding, whereas Americans reported more anger suppression than Koreans. Women were more likely than men to use both types of rumination (i.e., reflective pondering and brooding) and anger suppression in both countries, but these gender differences disappeared once levels of depressive symptoms were controlled for. In addition, the association between the use of reappraisal and depressive symptoms was significantly stronger in the Korean compared to the US sample. In contrast, the association between anger suppression and depressive symptoms was significantly stronger in the American compared to the Korean sample. These findings highlight the importance of considering the role of culture in emotion regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)769-782
Number of pages14
JournalCognition and Emotion
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Culture
  • Depression
  • Emotion regulation
  • Reappraisal
  • Rumination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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