Yuki, M.（結城雅樹）, Sato, K.（佐藤剛介）, Takemura, K.（竹村幸祐）, & Oishi, S. (2013). Social ecology moderates the association between self-esteem and happiness. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49(4), 741-746. doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2013.02.006
Previous research has found cross-cultural differences in the strength of the association between self-esteem and happiness. We propose that this difference can be explained by relational mobility, or the degree to which options exist in the givensocio-ecological context for relationship formation and dissolution. In Study 1, we found that the association between self-esteem and happiness was stronger among American participants than among Japanese participants. As predicted, this cultural difference was explained by the difference in relational mobility. In Study 2, we found that the association between self-esteem and happiness was stronger among Japanese living in relationally mobile regions than among Japanese living in less mobile regions. In Study 3, we manipulated relational mobility and demonstrated that the thought of living in a relationally mobile society caused individuals to base their life satisfaction judgments on self-esteem. Overall, our research demonstrates the utility of examining cultural differences from a socio-ecological perspective.