Cultural Storytelling and Life Satisfaction: Storytelling Practices in American, Japanese, and Slovakian College Students

Student Author(s)

Sarah Manke

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Deirdre Johnston

Document Type


Event Date



Communication through stories and narratives is universal, and current research posits personal stories and gossip make up 65 percent of our daily conversation (Dunbar, 1997). In addition, studies show a connection between storytelling and the creation of strong communities (Carr, 1986; Ball-Rokeach, Kim, and Matei, 2001), and strong communities in turn are known to have a lasting increase on life satisfaction (Meyer, 1992; Haidt, 2006; Diener and Biswas-Diener, 2008). Therefore, the purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between culture, storytelling practices, and life satisfaction. The research for this study came from three countries: Japan, Slovakia, and the United States. Japan and the United States respectively represent high and low context cultures, and Slovakia fits in between the two (Hofstede, 1980). It was expected that lower context cultures would see storytelling as more pertinent to building and maintaining social relationships—thus important to one’s happiness—than higher context cultures.

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