Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



J Cross Cult Psychol. 2020 July ; 51(6): 511–525. doi:10.1177/0022022120933682.


2020 Author(s)


Family obligation values have been described as an important element of collectivistic cultures that are related to the development of positive emotional well-being and motivation in high school and college students. The present study tested the hypothesis that culture moderates the relationship between family obligation values and the outcomes of Korean (n = 249) and European American (n = 251) college students. The results provided support for this hypothesis. Specifically, for Koreans, family obligation values were significantly and positively correlated with descriptions of parents as being more supportive of the self-determination of their children, which was found to mediate the relationship between family obligation values and student outcomes. Furthermore, family obligation values were more strongly associated with the motivation, self-esteem, and depression of Koreans than European Americans. European American students expressed lower family obligation values and the intensity of these values were unrelated to their emotional well-being. Family obligation values were positively correlated with reports of self-determined motivation for Korean students, and negatively correlated with reports of self- determined motivation for European American students. The results are discussed in terms of cultural moderation and self-determination theory.