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Similarities and Differences in Interoceptive Bodily Awareness Between US-American and Japanese Cultures: A Focus-Group Study in Bicultural Japanese-Americans.

Authors
  • Freedman, A1, 2
  • Hu, H3
  • Liu, I T H C4
  • Stewart, A L5
  • Adler, S1, 6
  • Mehling, W E7, 8
  • 1 Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, University of California San Francisco, 1545 Divisadero Street, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA, 94115, USA.
  • 2 California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, USA.
  • 3 Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA.
  • 4 Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan. , (Japan)
  • 5 Institute for Health and Aging, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, USA.
  • 6 Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, USA.
  • 7 Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, University of California San Francisco, 1545 Divisadero Street, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA, 94115, USA. [email protected]
  • 8 Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, USA. [email protected]
Type
Published Article
Journal
Culture Medicine and Psychiatry
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2021
Volume
45
Issue
2
Pages
234–267
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s11013-020-09684-4
PMID: 32740780
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Interoceptive awareness is the conscious perception of sensations that create a sense of the physiological condition of the body. A validation study for the Japanese translation of the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA) surprised with a factor structure different from the original English-language version by eliminating two of eight scales. This prompted an exploration of the similarities and differences in interoceptive bodily awareness between Japanese and European Americans. Bicultural Japanese-Americans discussed concepts and experiences in the two cultures. We conducted focus groups and qualitative thematic analyses of transcribed recordings. 16 participants illustrated cross-cultural differences in interoceptive bodily awareness: switching between languages changes embodied experience; external versus internal attention focus; social expectations and body sensations; emphasis on form versus self-awareness; personal space; and mind-body relationship; context dependency of bodily awareness and self-construal. The participants explained key concepts that present challenges for a Japanese cultural adaptation of the MAIA, specifically the concept of self-regulation lost in the factor analysis. In Japanese culture, self-regulation serves the purpose of conforming to social expectations, rather than achieving an individual self-comforting sense of homeostasis. Our findings will inform the next phase of improving the MAIA's cross-cultural adaptation.

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