Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 1525–1533 | Cite as

Repressive Adaptive Style Across Ethnicities

  • Joanna O. Shadlow
  • Michael C. Roberts
  • Kelly Cosgrove
Original Paper


There may be significant differences in coping styles across ethnicities. Previous research has suggested disparities in the number of individuals who utilize repressive adaptive coping style among cultural groups. Repressive adaptive style is a coping mechanism in which individuals report low distress levels while they actually experience high levels of stress. Developing an enhanced understanding of the prevalence of the utilization of repressive adaptive style in different ethnic groups is important for informing intervention techniques to better account for the cultural influences on mental health. The present study investigated the utilization of repressive adaptive style across American Indian (n = 31), African American (n = 53), and European American (n = 48) children in the Midwest. The age range of the children was 10 to 13 years and 50.8% were male. Dependent measures included the Children’s Social Desirability Scale and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children. Results indicated significant differences in reports of anxiety between ethnic groups. Additionally, it was discovered that African American and European American children utilized repressive adaptive style more than American Indian children, albeit not significantly. Because of the high rates of suicide and emotional distress believed to be experienced by American Indian children this result is interesting. Continued research investigating protective factors, such as high levels of cultural identity and connectedness, is warranted.


Repressive adaptive style Repressors American Indian African American 


Author Contributions

J.S. designed and executed the study, analyzed the data, and wrote the paper. M.R. collaborated with the designing and writing of the study. K.C. collaborated in the writing and editing of the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe University of TulsaTulsaUSA
  2. 2.Clinical Child Psychology ProgramThe University of KansasLawrenceUSA

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