, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 311-328

The Relationship of Hardiness, Coping Strategies, and Perceived Stress to Symptoms of Illness

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Abstract

We proposed a conceptual model based on research supporting the relationship between symptoms of illness and the determinants of hardiness, coping strategies, and perceived stress. In this model, hardiness, avoidance coping, and approach coping have paths to perceived stress, perceived stress has a path to symptoms of illness, and hardiness also has a path to symptoms of illness. We examined the goodness of fit of this model using path analysis and tested its stability, as well as the presence of gender effects, in corporate (N = 110) and university (N = 271) samples. The proposed model was a good fit for the data in the corporate sample, and no gender effects were found. The proposed model was not a good fit for the data in the university sample, therefore we added two paths that have received some support in the research: from approach coping to symptoms of illness and from avoidance coping to symptoms of illness. This model was a good fit for the data in the university sample, however, the path from approach coping to symptoms of illness had a critical ratio <2.0, thus we removed this path and ran the model again. The final model was a good fit for the data, and no gender effects were found. Implications for the relationship of hardiness, coping strategies, and perceived stress to health are discussed.