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Cross-cultural differences in beliefs about emotions: A comparison between Brazilian and British participants

Diferenças transculturais em crenças sobre emoções: uma comparação entre participantes brasileiros e britânicos



Perfectionist beliefs about emotions impact the experience and expression of emotions, being linked to increased levels of depression and anxiety. Given the influence of culture in the representation and expression of emotion, it is possible that beliefs vary across countries, but few empirical studies have been conducted on the theme. This study aims to compare Brazilian and British samples regarding their beliefs about emotional experience and expression.


The current study compared a total of 960 Brazilian and British participants, with the samples having a similar profile in terms of age, gender and ethnicity. Participants answered online the Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7), Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), and Beliefs about Emotions Scale (BES). This study aims to compare Brazilian and British samples with regard to beliefs about emotional experience and expression.


Significant differences between samples were found for beliefs about emotions. As hypothesized, Brazilians scored lower on unhelpful beliefs about emotions, except for beliefs about experiencing negative feelings and emotional control. Differences in total BES scores remained even after the inclusion of depression and anxiety as covariates.


Results suggest higher endorsement of perfectionist beliefs in a European versus a Latin American context, but highlight that this pattern depends on the specific beliefs being studied. These differences should be considered when working with people from different cultural backgrounds and developing cultural adaptations for clinical interventions and psychopathology models.

Beliefs; emotion; perfectionism; emotional regulation; cross-cultural comparison

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