When faced with adverse situations in exchange relationships, the people involved are required to respond. Response strategies are reactions to such adverse situations and represent cognitive schemata organized in an integrated structure forming a mental map. Extant response strategy research implicitly assumes that the content and internal structure of response strategies is universal, but with few exceptions, it fails to assess cross-cultural validity, a necessary step to investigate potential cultural variations in response strategy preferences. This study has investigated the cross-cultural validity of a circumplex model in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Turkey, and Japan. The seven response strategies examined attained measurement equivalence, and six were organized in an equivalent circumplex structure in all four countries. The findings also revealed cross-cultural differences in people's preference to use response strategies. This study therefore contributes to the cross-cultural psychology literature by demonstrating that response strategy content and structure are nearly universal, whereas preferences for using response strategies vary across cultures. © The Author(s) 2012.