University Students: Connection between Representations of Stress and Coping Strategies
This paper discusses the representations of stress (concept of stress) and a variety of coping strategies that people in collectivistic cultures use in attempting to deal with problematic situations. The Conceptual Representations of Stress technique and Adolescent Coping Scale are applied. An assumption was made that correlations between the representations present in a culture and coping strategies selected by its representatives may reveal the specific features of coping behavior in this culture. The sample comprised 98 Russian, 70 Turkish and 58 Chinese students. The results have proven the fact that culture affects both the representations of stress and choice of coping strategies. As the comparative analysis has demonstrated, the more differentiated the concept of stress is in a culture, the more differentiated and individualistic coping strategies its representatives select. Comparing the characteristics of coping strategies in the studied cultural groups has shown that group-oriented strategies play different functional roles in the way students manage stress. Practical relevance of the research lies in developing and implementing of stress-relieving programs, targeting different cultural groups with account of specific interpretations of stress and patterns of coping with difficult situations. Limitations of the research are noted.