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Face Threat and Facework Strategies When Family (Health) Secrets Are Revealed: A Comparison of South Korea and the United States

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This study examined face threat and facework strategies when people witness family members disclosing sensitive health information to family outsiders. Korean and U.S. participants were expected to view these situations differently based on Confucian versus individualist identity and in‐group privacy norms. Korean and U.S. college samples evaluated vignettes in which health information was disclosed to family outsiders. Koreans regarded the situations as more face threatening and endorsed dominating facework in these situations to a greater extent than did Americans. The 2 cultures also showed strong similarities. Results confirmed the cultural basis of privacy expectations but contradicted some accounts of culturally based facework. Koreans did not consistently endorse indirect facework, nor did Americans show notable directness in response to privacy violations.
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Keywords: Culture; Face Threat; Facework; Family Secrets; Privacy Management

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2015

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