Publication Date:
Author(s): Saeideh Heshmati, Zita Oravecz
Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd
Publication Type: Academic Journal Article
Journal Title: Journal of Social and Personal Relationships
Volume: 39
Issue: 2
Page Range: 347-371

Cultural conformity in psychological constructs has been shown to play a critical role in people’s health and well-being. The more people’s individual beliefs about a construct aligns with the cultural norms, their cultural identity is more cultivated, leading to higher levels of well-being. Considering feeling loved in everyday contexts as a social construct that people indicate shared beliefs and cultural consensus for, in the current study, we explored congruency in cultural beliefs on love and its association with well-being in the United States. 495 participants in the United States evaluated everyday life scenarios in terms of whether they elicit loving feelings or not. We examined the correspondence between people’s beliefs about what makes themselves (i.e., self) feel loved compared to what they think makes others feel loved and the cultural consensus on indicators of love. We then explored how individual differences in these correspondence measures are associated with people’s well-being. We reported evidence for the lack as well as for the existence of these associations using Bayes Factors in the Bayesian statistical framework. Results indicated that both self-other and self-consensus agreements are meaningfully associated with individuals’ well-being. Furthermore, when examining disagreements in self vs. other ratings of love, we found that one type of disagreement (believing other people feel loved in scenarios that I don’t), is associated with lower levels of well-being. This meaningful relationship to well-being was not visible in the case where a person would report feeling loved in a scenario while believing that others would not. Implications for well-being interventions are further discussed.