Cultural context shapes individuals' valuation of emotions. Although studies have documented cultural differences in beliefs about the utility of negative emotions, little is known about how such cultural valuation is associated with physiological stress responses. In the present work, we examined whether East Asians and European Americans differ in how they value nervousness in a demanding situation and whether such valuation predicts acute cardiovascular responses. We found that East Asians were more likely than European Americans to believe feeling nervous in a demanding situation was useful. Furthermore, greater valuation of negative emotion predicted attenuated cardiovascular responses to a laboratory mental stressor and partially mediated the relationship between culture and cardiovascular stress responses. The present results highlight the importance of valuation of emotions as a psychological mechanism underlying cultural as well as individual differences in stress-evoked cardiovascular responses. We discuss one implication for this line of research, unpacking how cross-cultural differences in valuation of negative emotions may lead to cultural variation in physiological patterns related to health outcomes. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
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