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Abstract In two studies, we examined the role of perceived fulfillment of parental expectations in the subjective well-being of college students. In Study 1, we found that American college students reported having higher levels of life satisfaction and self-esteem than did Japanese college students. American college students also reported having fulfilled parental expectations to a greater degree than did Japanese college students. Most importantly, the cultural difference in well-being was mediated by perceived fulfillment of parental expectations. In Study 2, we replicated the mediational finding with Asian American and European American college students. Asian American participants also perceived their parents' expectations about their academic performance to be more specific than did European Americans, which was associated with the cultural difference in perceived fulfillment of parental expectations. In short, perceived parental expectations play an important role in the cultural difference in the well-being of Asians and European Americans.