Cultural Difference in the Role of Communion in Coping With COVID-19

Minjoo Joo, Susan E. Cross, Sun W. Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: People are overwhelmed with COVID-19 news every day, which induces stress but also makes people feel connected to others. The present study examined two conflicting pressures of COVID-19—stress and communion—on the link between COVID-19 saliency and psychological consequences in two cultures. Specifically, we aimed to examine whether COVID-19 saliency and daily emotional experiences are mediated by COVID-19 stress and communion, and whether the relation between communion and daily emotions is emphasized among Koreans compared to U.S. participants. Method: We collected a 14-day daily diary from South Koreans (n= 201) and the U.S. participants (n= 128), measuring individuals’ daily experiences of COVID-19 and emotions. Results: COVID-19 saliency led to COVID-19-related stress, which was positively linked to daily negative emotions; COVID-19 saliency was also positively associated with communion, which led to decreased negative emotions in both cultures. As hypothesized, the opposite effect of COVID-19 stresses and communion emerged for positive emotions. Further, culture significantly moderated the relationship between communion and daily emotions, suggesting that communion is a more important coping mechanism for Koreans than U.S. individuals. Conclusions: The current study speaks to the importance of a sense of communion to cope with the negative consequences of the global crisis, especially for individuals from East Asian cultural context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-75
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Psychological Association


  • COVID-19
  • communion
  • coping
  • culture
  • emotions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Applied Psychology


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