Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis



Reader 1

Alan Jones

Reader 2

KaMala Thomas

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Rights Information

© 2014 Lindsay K. Yamaoka


This study investigated the effects of personality type and ethnicity on reactivity to stressful stimuli by examining acculturation and adherence to Asian American cultural values as moderators. Twenty-two Asian American and twenty-two European American students performed a mental arithmetic task and a speech task while cardiovascular (CV) reactivity was monitored. Level of extraversion, acculturation, and adherence to Asian American values were assessed. As predicted, Asian Americans exhibited less CV reactivity to stressful stimuli and lower levels of extraversion than European Americans. Support was found for adherence to Asian American values as a moderator of the relationship between level of extraversion and CV reactivity to stressful stimuli. The results illustrate that being connected to Asian American culture has protective value for less extraverted individuals, as adherence to Asian American values predicted less CV reactivity to stress. These findings shed light on how culture influences the form and function of personality and can influence physiological reactivity to stress. To the best of my knowledge, no research has investigated whether personality type has an effect on stress responses in Asian Americans and examined the differences in responses based on cultural adherence.