Self-disclosure and conflict management: A comparison of Chinese and American couples
This study examined cultural factors individualism and collectivism) and marital dynamics (self-disclosure and conflict management) among Chinese and Americans spouses. One hundred ninety-eight couples (Americans = 54, Chinese residents = 64. Chinese natives = 80) completed a questionnaire packet which assessed individualism, collectivism, self-disclosure, active conflict tactics, and passive conflict tactics. To examine group differences in the cultural values and marital behaviors, a repeated measures MANCOVA was conducted, controlling for length of marriage. Follow-up repeated measures ANCOVAs were conducted to test each hypothesis. The results indicated that the Chinese native and American groups were similar in cultural values, but the Chinese resident group had the highest rates of both individualism and collectivism. When examining marital behaviors, the American and Chinese resident groups self-disclosed to a similar extent, but the Chinese native group had the lowest self-disclosure rates. In relation to active conflict tactics, the two Chinese groups reported using more active conflict tactics than the American group, but the two Chinese groups were similar in the extent to which they used these tactics. With regards to passive conflict tactics, the Chinese native group had the highest rates, the Chinese resident group had moderate rates, and the American group had the lowest rates. Overall, these findings indicated a similarity between the Chinese and American spouses in cultural values, but a difference in marital processes. The Chinese resident spouses adopted both types of cultural values, and were more similar to Americans in self-disclosure but more similar to Chinese natives in conflict tactics. Further research will enhance our understanding of cross-cultural patterns of Chinese and American familial relations.