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Coping with Concerns: An Exploratory Comparison of Australian, Colombian, German, and Palestinian Adolescents

NCJ Number
Journal of Youth and Adolescence Volume: 32 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2003 Pages: 59-66
Erica Frydenberg; Ramon Lewis; Gregor Kennedy; Ruben Ardila; Wolfgang Frindte; Rasmiyah Hannoun
Daniel Offer
Date Published
February 2003
8 pages
This study examined the manner in which young people in four national communities generally coped with their concerns.
Using a positive psychology emphasis in its approach, this study compared young people's usage of 3 coping styles and 18 coping strategies, within 4 communities in Australia, Colombia, Germany, and Palestine, by means of the Adolescent Coping Scale, an 80-item instrument used to measure coping. The coping process is described as being dependent on the type of situation being confronted and how the individual perceives or appraises the situation. It was found that Palestinian youth reported greater usage of all but three strategies, namely, physical recreation, relaxation, and tension reduction. German youth reported the least usage of two-thirds of the strategies assessed, but rated physical recreation highly, a more culturally determined strategy, as did Australian youth. Both Palestinian and Colombian youth utilized the seek to belong, focus on the positive, social action, solving the problem, seeking spiritual support, and worry methods as their primary coping strategies. It was found that the young people reported most frequent use of working hard and use of problem solving strategies, regardless of their national setting. However, it was demonstrated that it is important to identify coping strategies that are reflective of each community before importing coping programs from one community to another. Tables provide information on the 18 coping strategies of the Adolescent Coping Scale, means for coping styles and significance tests, and means for nationality and significance tests. In conclusion, it is noted that more needs to be known about the way in which national setting and inherent stress may mediate the effectiveness of alternate coping strategies, such as the differences between the dispossessed Palestinian youth and German or Australian youth living in a stable society. A list of references is included.