THE NORMATIVE COPING RESPONSES OF ADOLESCENTS UNDER STRESS

MILDRED ANN SCHUBERT, Fordham University

Abstract

The study investigated what types of coping strategies 703 high school students employed when faced with four types of common, daily stresses. Coping strategies were assessed by ratings on an inventory developed for this study which included four types: direct-active, direct-inactive, indirect-active and indirect-inactive. The stresses investigated involved four common problem areas for adolescents: parents, school, peers, and future. The study was designed to ascertain what types of strategies were used with what types of stress and which were most helpful. It also investigated gender differences in coping.^ Results of the study indicated that adolescents did indeed respond differently when faced with different stresses. When the stress involved parents or school, adolescents used indirect-active responses significantly more than any other type of coping strategy. They also rated indirect-active responses as most helpful. When the stress involved problems with peers or concern over the future, adolescents used all but indirect-inactive responses with equal frequency. They rated indirect-active and direct-active responses as more helpful than the others. Indirect-inactive responses, such as drinking, using drugs, and running away, were used least frequently and rated least helpful in all four problem areas. It is suggested that adolescents' preference for indirect-active responses may reflect their appraisal of parental and school problems as being beyond their ability to directly alter. Hence they employ responses aimed at reducing their emotional distress by changing themselves.^ The findings concerning gender differences in coping indicate that although females experience greater stress, they employ a greater number of coping responses than males, use them with greater frequency, and find them more helpful.^ These findings were discussed in terms of ways in which school psychologists can provide interventions for students under stress. Areas for future research were suggested. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Developmental

Recommended Citation

MILDRED ANN SCHUBERT, "THE NORMATIVE COPING RESPONSES OF ADOLESCENTS UNDER STRESS" (January 1, 1986). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI8624505.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8624505

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