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The Psychological and Cultural Foundations of East Asian CognitionContradiction, Change, and Holism$
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Julie Spencer-Rodgers and Kaiping Peng

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199348541

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199348541.001.0001

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The Yin-Yang of Stress

The Yin-Yang of Stress

The Link Between Dialectical Thinking and Coping Processes

(p.573) Chapter 20 The Yin-Yang of Stress
The Psychological and Cultural Foundations of East Asian Cognition

Hi-Po Bobo Lau

Cecilia Cheng

Oxford University Press

Dialectical thinking refers to the (primarily East Asian) tendency to tolerate contradiction, expect change, and perceive interconnections. Drawing upon a process-oriented approach to coping, in this chapter, two pathways through which dialectical thinking may influence East Asians’ ways of coping are proposed. First, dialectical (and holistic) thinking may enable East Asians to attribute events to both situational and dispositional factors. This breadth in attribution may lead to the perception of less personal control, as well as a weaker association between perceived personal control and coping outcomes among East Asians than among Westerners. In addition, dialectical thinking may facilitate complex cognitive processes such as differentiation and integration, and a reduced need for closure. In turn, this facilitates flexibility in appraising the controllability of stressful events and deployment of situation-appropriate coping responses (i.e., coping flexibility). Areas for future research are also discussed in the chapter.

Keywords:   East Asians, coping, coping flexibility, differentiation, integration, dialectical thinking, perceived control, stress

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