Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 59–66 | Cite as

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

  • Erica Frydenberg
  • Ramon Lewis
  • Gregor Kennedy
  • Ruben Ardila
  • Wolfgang Frindte
  • Rasmiyah Hannoun

Abstract

Consistent with an emphasis on positive psychology, and on ability rather than deficit, this study of adolescents in 4 communities sought to examine how young people cope with their concerns. Samples of Australian, Colombian, German, and Palestinian students completed the general form of the Adolescent Coping Scale, an 80-item instrument used to measure coping. A comparison of young people's usage of 3 coping styles and 18 coping strategies within these communities indicated that Palestinian youth report greater usage of all but three strategies (namely, physical recreation, relaxation, and tension reduction), and German youth report the least usage of 2/3 of the strategies assessed. Both Palestinian and Colombian youth were noted to utilize more seek to belong, focus on the positive, social action, solving the problem, seeking spiritual support, and worry than were German or Australian adolescents. When the relative usage of coping strategies within national settings was considered, some noticeable differences were apparent. For example it was found that regardless of the national setting young people reported most frequent use of working hard and use of problem solving strategies. When it comes to more culturally determined activities such as physical recreation, the Australian and German students ranked this strategy more highly in their coping repertoires than do the Colombians, and more noticeably, the Palestinian students. For example, although physical recreation is ranked as the second most commonly used strategy for the German sample, it is ranked 16th by the Palestinians. The study demonstrates the importance of identifying coping strategies that are reflective of each community under investigation. Similarity in coping cannot be assumed across different student populations. Consequently caution needs to be exercised when importing coping programs from one community to another.

coping cross-cultural adolescents 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erica Frydenberg
    • 1
  • Ramon Lewis
    • 2
  • Gregor Kennedy
    • 3
  • Ruben Ardila
    • 4
  • Wolfgang Frindte
    • 5
  • Rasmiyah Hannoun
    • 6
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of AustraliaAustralia
  2. 2.Institute for EducationLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.The Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health SciencesUniversity of MelbourneUSA
  4. 4.National University of ColombiaBogota
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyUniversity of JenaGermany
  6. 6.Clinical PsychologyAlabama

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