Perceived utility of emotion: The structure and construct validity of the Perceived Affect Utility Scale in a cross-ethnic sample

Philip I. Chow, Howard Berenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study introduces a new measure of the perceived utility of emotion, which is the degree to which emotions are perceived to be useful in achieving goals. In this study, we administered this new measure, the Perceived Affect Utility Scale (PAUSe), to a sample of 142 European American and 156 East Asian American college students. Confirmatory factor analyses provided support for a new, culturally informed parsing of emotion and for perceived utility of emotion to be distinguishable from ideal affect, a related but separate construct. Next, we explored the potential importance of perceived utility of emotion in cultural research. Through path analyses, we found that: (a) culturally relevant variables (e.g., independence) played a mediating role in the link between ethnic group and perceived utility of emotion; and (b) perceived utility of emotion played a mediating role in the link between culturally relevant variables and ideal affect. In particular, perceived utility of self-centered emotions (e.g., pride) was found to be associated with independence and ideal affect of those same emotions. In contrast, perceived utility of other-centered emotions (e.g., appreciation) was found to be associated with interdependence, dutifulness/self-discipline, and ideal affect of those same emotions. Implications for perceived utility of emotion in understanding cultural factors are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-63
Number of pages9
JournalCultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

Keywords

  • Culture
  • East Asian
  • Emotion
  • Individual differences
  • Perceived utility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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