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08-06-2017 | Uitgave 10/2017

Quality of Life Research 10/2017

Acculturation matters in the relation between ambivalence over emotional expressions and well-being among Chinese American breast cancer survivors

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 10/2017
William Tsai, Qian Lu



Ambivalence over emotional expression (AEE) is the inner conflict of desiring emotion expression and fearing consequence of emotion expression. Few studies to date have examined the effects of AEE within an ethnic group that prioritizes emotional self-control. The present study examined the associations between AEE and well-being (viz., quality of life and depressive symptoms) as a function of acculturation among a sample of Chinese American breast cancer survivors.


Ninety-six Chinese breast cancer survivors (M age = 54.64 years old, SD = 7.98) were recruited from Southern California. Participants filled out a paper-pen questionnaire containing the Ambivalence over Emotional Expression Questionnaire (AEQ), the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast (FACT-B), and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale—Short Form (CESD-10).


Acculturation was a statistically significant moderator of the relations between AEE and depressive symptoms, and a statistically marginally significant moderator of the relations between AEE and quality of life. Simple slopes revealed that AEE was negatively associated with quality of life (B = −.45, p < .001) and depressive symptoms (B = .20, p < .001) for women with high acculturation, but not associated for women with low acculturation (Bs = −.15 and .04, ps > .05, for quality of life and depressive symptoms, respectively).


These results suggest that less acculturated Chinese breast cancer survivors are protected by Chinese cultural values of emotional self-control and restraint, and thus do not experience the detrimental effects of AEE on their depressive symptoms and quality of life. Implications are discussed.

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