Current Projects

Culture and Stigma Towards Help-Seeking

In this line of research, we look at stigma towards mental health and help-seeking across cultures, with an attempt to reconceptualize the stigma framework to cultural concepts. For example, we explore the interplay between stigma and interdependent self-construal and saving face, two salient cultural constructs from East Asia. We are finding ways to reduce the stigma of seeking help and mental health disparity.

Intergroup/Intercultural Relations

We are interested in how people with different group affiliations interact and adjust, particularly people from stigmatized groups. We specifically examine how status-based rejection sensitivity (i.e., sensitivity toward rejection due to their stigmatized group status) and ideological preference (e.g., malleable vs. fixed lay theory) predict stigmatized individuals’ adjustment and well-being. Aligned with the same framework, we are also looking at sojourners’ intercultural adjustment when living abroad.

Cross-Cultural Assessment

We examine the psychological structures and assessments across cultures, particularly in the area of stigma and vocational interests. In collaboration with Dr. Vogel and international teams, we validated several stigma-relevant measures across many nations/regions. We are developing culturally appropriate measures on stigma to understand individuals’ attitudes and stigma toward seeking mental health services with respect to their construal contexts.

Built on Dr. Liao’s prior work on the basic interest measures (Liao et al., 2008; also see, we explore the relations between vocational interests and other individual differences domains and examine the equivalence of interest structures across cultures. We also look at how well the interest congruence (aka, the person-environmental fit in interest) predicts academic performance, career success, and job satisfaction. Due to cultural variations in vocational interests, we advocate for a greater use of indigenous interest measures than imported ones.