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Linking Emotion to the Conflict Face-Negotiation Theory: A U.S.–China Investigation of the Mediating Effects of Anger, Compassion, and Guilt in Interpersonal Conflict



This study linked emotion to the theoretical assumptions of the face-negotiation theory and probed the critical role of anger, compassion, and guilt in understanding the complex pathways of their relationships with self-construal, face concerns, and conflict styles in U.S. and Chinese cultures. Results showed that anger was associated positively with independent self-construal, self-face concern, and the competing style, and compassion was associated positively with interdependent self-construal, other-face concern, and the integrating, compromising, and obliging styles. Guilt was related positively with interdependent self-construal and the obliging style in the United States, and with interdependent self-construal and the avoiding style in China. Overall, emotion mediated the effects of self-construal and face concerns on conflict styles in both cultures, but cultural differences also emerged.