Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology

First Advisor

Julia Dmitrieva, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Kateri McRae

Third Advisor

Sarah Watamura

Fourth Advisor

Ruth Chao


Actual affect, Chinese international students, Depressed mood, Ideal affect, Orientation United States culture


Emerging literature suggests that ideal/desired emotions vs. actual emotions represent an important aspect of subjective emotional experiences that may be particularly important for cross-cultural research, as culture may influence the subjective experience of how individuals value certain emotions and to what extent they actually experience them. The current research conducts two studies to examine cultural differences in ideal and actual affect, and to test its association with acculturation and depressed mood within a sample of Chinese international students. Specifically, Study 1 recruited 152 Chinese international college students and 108 U.S. college students to test differences in their ideal and actual affect, and how these differences are associated with depressed mood. Study 2 involves longitudinal data collected every six months over the course of one year to examine changes in Chinese participants' affect patterns, changes in their acculturation level, and their influences on depressed mood. In addition, the study tests a moderation effect of orientation to the U.S. culture on the association between affect and depressed mood over time. Results in Study 1 showed cultural differences in ideal affect. It suggests that valuing high-arousal positive affect and wanting to feel more positive over negative effect are more functional to American culture, but higher actual low-arousal positive affect is associated with lower depressed mood for both Chinese and American cultures. Results in Study 2 showed that levels of average ideal and actual affect did not change in general across the course of a year. However, the association between affect and depressed mood become more similar to American culture when participants had stayed longer in the United States. Orientation to the U.S. culture did not moderate this association in general. Theoretical and practical implications of the results will be discussed.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Jiquan Lin


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

149 p.


Developmental Psychology

Included in

Psychology Commons