Working together or separately? The role of identity and cultural self-construal in well-being among Japanese youth

Kazumi Sugimura, Reiko Nakama, Shinichi Mizokami, Kai Hatano, Manabu Tsuzuki, Seth J. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Young people develop a sense of personal identity during the transition to adulthood, a time when individuals choose and adhere to a specific set of goals, values, and beliefs. In addition, in many contemporary Asian societies, youth are expected to acquire and balance traditional and Western cultural views of the self — that is, independent and interdependent self-construal. To understand the relationships between the personal and cultural facets of the transition to adulthood, this study examined (a) associations between personal identity and well-being and (b) the possible moderating role of cultural self-construal (independence and interdependence) in this link. These hypotheses were tested in a sample of 520 Japanese university students (52.6% female). The results indicated that personal identity predicted each dimension of well-being, suggesting that the importance of personal identity in promoting youth's well-being can be understood as a universal phenomenon. Moreover, because the moderating role of self-construal in the links between identity and well-being was found to be limited, personal identity can be viewed as operating separately from self-construal in well-being to a large extent. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)362-373
Number of pages12
JournalAsian Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Japan
  • identity
  • independence
  • interdependence
  • transition to adulthood
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences(all)


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