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COPING WITH STRESS 1 The Concept of Coping A close perusal of literature reveals that coping has been viewed

in diverse ways. Dewe, Guest and Williams (1979) consider coping as an attempt to remove the feeling of discomfort. White (1974) defined coping as the process which involves efforts towards solution of problems. It occurs when a person faces a threatening or dynamic change or problem that defies known or usual ways of behaviour and might give rise to anxiety, guilt, grief and shame, and again forms the necessity for adaptation. McGrath (1970) has viewed coping as the covert and overt behavior by which the organism actively prevents, removes or circumvents stress inducing circumstances. Schregardus (1976) proposed two major styles of coping namely repression and sensitization. He also found that patterns of defensive style were related to the perception and experiences of stress and to subsequent patterns of coping and adjustment. Pearlin and Schooler (1978) have suggested that coping responses are the behaviors, cognitions and perceptions in which people engage when actually contending with their life problems. Coping responses represent some of the things that people do, their concrete efforts to deal with the life strains they encounter in their different roles. Responses that are directed at modification of the stressful situations are the most direct ways to cope with strain because they tend to eliminate the source of stress itself. Pearlin and Schooler (1978) found that this is not a commonly used mode of coping. Before the onset of action which is directed at the modification of stressful environment the person must recognize the problem. The action intended to modify a situation may at times lead to other unwanted outcomes. Thus at times a person is rendered helpless in dealing with action oriented coping, According to them coping refers to behavior that protects people from being psychologically harmed by problematic experiences. They have identified three protective functions of coping behavior i.e. by eliminating or modifying the conditions that give rise to the problematic situation, by perceiving the meaning of experience in such a manner that it neutralizes its problematic character and by keeping the emotional consequences under control. Irving (1977) has presented a descriptive typology of distinctive patterns of coping that included vigilance, hypervigilance and defensive avoidance. On the other hand, Robbins (1978) has identified seven patterns of coping viz, seeking social support, dysfunctional

behavior, narcotizing anxiety, problem solving, reliance on professionals, bearing with discomfort, and escape. In recent years attention has been given to coping with stressful events of day to day life. Broadly, three major approaches to measurement of coping can be identified i.e. coping in terms of ego processes (Hann, 1977; Valliant, 1977), coping as traits and coping as situation specific response. According to Silver and Wortman (1980), coping refers to any and all responses made by an individual who encounters a potentially harmful situation. In addition to overt behavior psychologists have included cognitions, emotional reactions (e.g. anger, depression) and psychological responses (e.g. nausea, insomnia etc.) also as types of coping mechanisms. However, most theorists restrict the term coping to efforts made by an individual in problem solving, in order to master, or control or overcome threatening situations. The controversy regarding treatment of coping as a trait or situation specific effort is yet unresolved. The complexity of coping cannot be captured through unidimensional measure. Lazarus and Folkman (1984) assert that coping is a shifting process where a person must at certain stages and certain times rely more on one form of coping (e.g. defensive strategies) and at other times on another form of coping (e.g. problem solving) as and when the status of the situation changes. Trait measures assume that people are behaviourally and cognitively consistent in their coping behaviour across situations. Cohen and Lazarus (1973) assert that trait measures are poor predictors of coping. Situation oriented research focuses on how people endeavour to cope with specific stressful situations (Visotsky et al, 1961; Weitsman & Worden, 1976). A critical and important distinction between the trait oriented and the process oriented approaches lies in the importance attached to the psychological and the environmental context in which coping takes place. The trait approach assumes that coping is mainly a property of the person and variation in stressful situations is of not much significance. In contrast, process oriented approach assumes that coping is a response to the psychological and environmental demands of specific stressful encounters. The most comprehensive approach to coping has been developed by Lazarus and his associates over a number of years (1966, Delongis, 1983; Folkman, 1984; Kanner & Folkman, 1980). It utilizes the transactional framework in which person and environment are

seen in terms of a continuous ongoing relationship of actions which are reciprocal in nature. These psychologists have argued that appraisal and coping mediate this transactional relationship. Lazarus and Folkman (1984) have defined coping as constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding the resources of the person. 2 Component Analysis of Coping The effects of stress is directly linked to coping. The study of coping has evolved to encompass large variety of disciplines beginning with all areas of psychology such as health psychology, environmental psychology, neuro psychology and developmental psychology to areas of medicine spreading into the area of anthropology and sociology. Dissecting coping strategies into three broad components, (biological/physiological, cognitive, and learned) will provide a better understanding of what the seemingly immense area is about. 2.1 Biological/physiological component - The body has its own way of coping with stress. Any threat or challenge that an individual perceives in the environment triggers a chain of neuroendocrine events. These events can be conceptualized as two separate responses, that being of sympathetic/adrenal response, with the secretion of catecholamines (epinephrine, norepinephrine) and the pituitary/adrenal response, with the secretion of corticosteroids (Frankanhauser, 1986). The sympathetic/adrenal response takes the message from the brain to the adrenal medulla via the sympathetic nervous system, which secretes epinephrine and norepinephrine. This is the basic "fight or flight" response (Cannon, 1929), where the heart rate quickens and the blood pressure rises. In the pituitary/adrenal response, the hypothalamus is stimulated and produces the corticotrophin releasing factor (CRF) to the pituitary gland through the blood veins, then the adrenal corticotropic hormone (ACTH) is released from the pituitary gland to the adrenal cortex. The adrenal cortex in turn secretes cortisol, a hormone that will report back to the original brain centers together with other body organs to tell it to stop the whole cycle. But since cortisol is a potent hormone, the prolonged secretion of it will lead to health problems such as the break down of cardiovascular system, digestive system, musculoskeletal system, and the recently established immune system. Also when the organism does not have a chance for recovery, it will lead to both catecholamine

and corisol depletion and result in the third stage of the General Adaptation Syndrome of exhaustion (Seyle, 1956). Social support has also been established by studies to be linked to stress (Bolger & Eckenrole, 1991; House, et. al, 1988). This can be seen as a dimension of the biological component since it is closely linked to the biological environment of that individual. There are many aspects to social support, the major categories would be of emotional, tangible, and informational. Personality types as so called Type A Personality have been defined to have such characteristics as competitive, impatient and hostile. Hostility has been linked to coronary heart disease which is thought be caused by stress (Rosenman, 1978). Eysenck (1988) has coined the term Type C Personality for those who are known to be repressors and are prone to cancer. Hardiness also is a personality that seems to have much to do with how an individual handles stress. Hardiness is defined as having a sense of control, commitment, and challenge towards life in general. Kobasa (1979) has studied subjects who were laid off in large numbers by AT&T when the federal deregulation took place, and found that the people who were categorized as having hardy personalities were mentally and emotionally better off than the others. Although it may be possible to modifying ones personality, research has shown it to be heritable (Rahe, Herrig, & Rosenman, 1978; Parker, & Barret, 1992). 2.2 Cognitive component - The cognitive approach to coping is based on a mental process of how the individual appraises the situation. Where the level of appraisal determines the level of stress and the unique coping strategies that the individual partakes. (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). There are two types of appraisals, the primary and the secondary. A primary appraisal is made when the individual makes a conscious evaluation of the matter at hand of whether it is either a harm or a loss, a threat or a challenge. Then secondary appraisal takes place when the individual asks him/herself "What can I do?" by evaluating the coping resources around him/her. These resources include, physical resources, such as how healthy one is, or how much energy one has, social resources, such as the family or friends one has to depend on for support in his/her immediate surroundings, psychological resources, such as self-esteem and self-efficacy, and also material resources such as how much money you have or what kind of equipment you might be able to use.

How much personal control one perceives to have is another factor to consider when looking at coping from the cognitive perspective. Usually an individual will find themselves feeling more stressful in uncontrollable situations. Also, since personal control is a cognitive process, the more one has a sense of personal control, better sense of coping ability one will have. The categories of the attribution theory gives a good picture of the extreme ends of the "in control/lack of control" continuum. An individual will perceive to have the most control where the situations fit the categories of internal, transient, and specific. At the opposite end of the scale is the categories of external, stable, and global where the person will perceive lack of control. There are other ways of to approach coping from a cognitive perspective such as that of constructive and destructive thinking as conceptualized by Epstien and Meier (1989) a similar concept to that of optimistic versus pessimistic (Taylor, 1991), the perceived level of selfefficacy and self-esteem and so on. 2.3 Learned component - The learned component of coping includes everything from various social learning theories, which assume that much of human motivation and behavior is the result of what is learned through experiential reinforcement, learned helplessness phenomena which is believed to have a relationship to depression, and even implications of the particular culture or society that the stress at hand is affected by can also be included in this component. Some of the examples for the social learning theories would be the wide range of stress management techniques that have been found to help ease stress. Changing how you cognitively process a particular situation, so called cognitive restructuring, changing how you behave in a particular situation, so called behavior modification, biofeedback which uses operant conditioning to alter involuntary responses mediated by the autonomic nervous system, and the numerous relaxation techniques such as meditation, breathing, and exercise are all part of what is learned through experiential reinforcement. The learned helplessness phenomena has been linked to depression by such researchers as Coyne, Aldwin, and Lazarus (1981) when they studied subjects who tried to exert control when it was not possible to do so. Cultures and societies have their own set of rule of what they perceive to be stressful or not (Colby, 1987). For example, educational systems differ greatly from culture to culture. In Asian cultures such as Japan and Korea, there is a great deal of importance attributed to how they do in schools. Access to higher education, leading to better jobs is determined solely

through academic performance. The amount of stress that the students experience due to this is very high. High enough to report a number of suicides each year for not passing an important exam. People will have different responses in a monogamous culture to that of a polygamous culture. In Africa, where polygamy is the norm, when they find out that the significant other has another partner, it means more workforce to take care of the children and the household chores. If the husband does not take on many wives, it can become a strain on the rest of the wives. An interesting study was done by using Holmes and Rahe's (1967) stressful life event measure in South Africa, and found that it correlated very little with standard distress measures (Swartz, Elk, & Teggin, 1983). This suggests the existence of such cultural/societal differences. 3 COPING MEASUREMENT / COPING STRATEGIES Stress and coping research has yet to produce a consistent or universal conceptualization of the dimensions of coping (Brough, ODriscoll, and Kalliath, 2005). A central outstanding issue in this relates to being able to properly describe all of the fundamental dimensions or strategies of coping. Although this inconsistency in conceptualization implies a diversity of theoretical frameworks and approaches, it also carries with it a number of difficulties when it comes to comparing coping results across studies that make use of different measuring instruments (Cook and Heppner, 1997). The conceptualization of coping presented by Folkman and Lazarus (1980) has subsequently been crystallized into two broad approaches: Problem focused coping and Emotion focused coping. Avoidance has also been suggested as a third basic coping strategy (Endler and Parker, 1990), and refers to choosing not to do anything about the experienced challenge. A review of literature using a specific coping inventory (The Coping Orientations to Problems Experienced [COPE] Inventory; Carver, Scheier and Weintraub, 1989) further supports these three dimensions, and have suggested reappraisal as a fourth. Support for the latter dimension also comes from Phelps and Jarvis (1994), who termed it acceptance 3.1 Lazarus and Folkman 1984 The term coping is used to refer to the process by which a person attempts to manage stressful demands & it takes 2 major forms. A person can focus on the specific problem or situation that has arisen, trying to find some way of changing it or avoiding it in the future.

This is called Problem focused coping. A person can also focus on alleviating the emotions associated with the stressful situation, even if the situation itself cannot be changed. This is called emotion focused coping (Lazarus and Folkman, 1984). When dealing with a stressful situation, most people use both problem focused and emotion focused coping. 3.1.1 Problem Focused Coping There are many strategies for solving problems. First, you must define the problem. Then you can generate alternative solutions and weigh the costs and benefits of the alternatives. Eventually you must choose between alternative solutions and then act upon your choice. Problem focused strategies can also be directed inward. You can change something about yourself instead of changing the environment. You can change your goals, find alternatives sources of gratification or learn new skills in inward directed strategies. How skilfully people employ these strategies depends on their range of experiences and capacity for self control. People who tend to use problem focused coping in stressful situations show lower levels of depression both during and after the stressful situation (Billings and Moos, 1984) Of course, people who are less depressed may find it easier to use problem focused coping. But longitudinal studies show that problem focused coping leads to shorter periods of depression, even taking into account peoples initial levels of depression. In addition, therapies that teach depressed people to use problem focused coping can be effective in helping them overcome their depression and react more adaptively to stressors (Nezy, Nezy & Perri, 1989) 3.1.2 Emotion Focused Coping People engage in emotion focused coping to prevent their negative emotions from overwhelming them and making them unable to take action to solve their problems. They also use emotion focused coping when a problem is uncontrollable. We try to cope with our negative emotions in many ways. Some researchers have divided these into behavioural strategies and cognitive strategies (Moos, 1988). Behavioural strategies include engaging in physical exercise, using alcohol or other drugs, venting anger & seeking emotional support from friends. Cognitive strategies include temporarily setting the problem aside & reducing the threat before changing the meaning of

the situation. Cognitive strategies involve reappraising the situation. Obviously some behaviour and cognitive strategies tend to be adaptive and others to cause merely more stress. 3.1.3 Avoidance Coping Individuals who choose to follow an avoidant coping strategy effectively choose to remove themselves from the situation, while a problem or emotion focused strategy implies that they remain in the situation (Kowalski and Crocker, 2001). This removal may be conceptualized as physical or psychological. Since avoidance coping may remove the individual from the stressful experience, it may be adaptive, and help individuals to manage feelings of distress (Rotondo et al 2003). Individuals removal of themselves from the stressful situation may be characterized as temporary or permanent, and when avoidance coping is used in combination with active coping strategies, it may also carry adaptive potential (Koeske, Kirk, and Koeske, 1993). It seems that the more stress individuals experience, the more likely they are to opt for avoidant coping strategies (Ingledew, Hardy, and Cooper, 1997; Koeske et al 1993). Research results, however, suggest that ingeneral avoidance coping is associated with poorer outcomes, especially over time, as demonstrated in longitudinal studies (Ingledew et al., 1997; Koeske et al 1993; Snow et al. 2003). The situation or context in whichavoidance coping is the preferred strategy is again of relevance (Anshel and Wells, 2000). If the situation does not immediately permit individuals to address the problem, it would be to their detriment to continue investing effort in solving it. As such, temporary avoidance may be conceptualized as an adaptive strategy, where the individual waits for a more appropriate time to deal with and possibly resolve the problem, if it does not require immediate attention. 3.1.4 Reappraisal As the name suggests, reappraisal is merely another appraisal. This further appraisal may be based on information taken from the situation or context, or on individuals own perception of their coping effort and interaction with the situation or context. A reappraisal is simply an appraisal that follows an earlier appraisal in the same encounter, and modifies it. In essence, appraisal and reappraisal do not differ (Lazarus and Folkman, 1984).

What seems especially helpful is when individuals can reappraise the challenges they face as something positive. Individuals who report more positive reappraisals report greater levels of mental health (Oxladet al2004; and general well being (Garnefski, Bann,and Kraaij, 2005). 3.1.5 Social Support as a Coping Technique One strategy that appears to help people adjust emotionally and physically to a stressor is seeking emotional support from others. Pennebahu (1990) has found that people who reveal personal traumas tend to show more positive physical health both shortly after the trauma and in the long run. Sometimes, social support is not conceptualized as a separate coping strategy at all, but rather as a facilitative resource that enables other coping behaviours (Endler and Parker, 1990). In other instances, social support is seen as a coping strategy that represents a mixture of problem and emotion focused strategies (Ben Zur, 1999). In other words, individuals may make use of social support to alleviate the source of stress (asking someone to help you or give you needed information resource), or utilize social support to get rid of the source of stress (asking someone to take care of the matter, or solve the problem for you strategy). Coping may also be directed as serving an interpersonal function (Coyne and Smith, 1991; Delongis and OBrien, 1990). This function refers to coping aimed at the maintenance and protection of such relationships may be an important consideration during stressful periods, especially when this stress originates from interpersonal issues (OBrien and DeLongis, 1996). Regarding social support, it is both the perceived availability (Snow et al, 2003), and perhaps more importantly, the mobilization of available support that should be considered (Rotondo et al 2003) and perhaps more importantly, the mobilization of available support that should be considered (Rotondo et al 2003). If social support is available, it may facilitate an individuals use of more active coping strategies (Heaney, House, Israel and Mero, 1997; Snow et al 2003). Thus, if individuals are under the impression that there is someone to ask for help, they may feel more comfortable and inclined to ask for help. Billings and Moos (1980) also suggest a negative spiral for those who do not perceive themselves as enjoying social support. They prefer avoidance as coping strategy and thereby isolate themselves further socially.

3.2 Maddi and Kobasa (1984) talked about two forms of coping: a) transformational and b) regressive. Transformational coping involves altering the events so they are less stressful. To do this, one has to interact with the events, and by thinking about them optimistically and acting towards them decisively, change them in a less stressful direction. Regressive approach, on the other hand, includes a strategy wherein one thinks about the events pessimistically and acts evasively to avoid contact with them. There are certain resistance resources that increase the likelihood of meeting stressful events with transformational rather than regressive coping. The most important of these is personality hardiness (Kobasa 1979). Kobasa noted that personality hardiness combines these tendencies, namely toward committment rather than alienation, toward control rather than powerlessness, and towards challenge rather than threat. When stressful events occur, hardy people do experience them as stressful, but also as somewhat interesting and important (commitment), at least somewhat influence able (control), and of potential value for personal development (challenge). 3.3 Lazarus (1975) has suggested a classification of coping processes which emphasizes two major categories, namely, direct actions and palliative modes. Direct action includes behaviours or actions which when performed by the organism in face of a stressful situation is expected to bring about a change in stress causing environment. The palliative mode of coping refers to those thoughts or actions whose purpose is to relieve the organism of any emotional impact of stress. There is, however no clear consensus as to which coping strategies or modes of coping are most effective. 3.4 (Pareek, 1983): Coping may either take the form of avoiding the situation (reactive strategy), i.e. dysfunctional style, or confronting and approaching the problem (proactive strategy), i.e. functional style. One category consists of persons who decide to suffer from, accept or deny the experienced stress, or put the blame on somebody (self or others) or something for being in that stressful situation. These are passive or avoidance strategies and are termed as dysfunctional styles of coping with stress situations. The other category consists of persons facing the realities of stress consciously, and taking some action to solve the problems themselves or with the help of other people. These are active approaches and are termed as functional styles of dealing with stressful situations and are more approved by social scientists as these are supposed to be more effective and healthy when compared to the dysfunctional styles.

The above classification is not intended to suggest that people use one kind of coping process or another exclusively. Rather, it is common knowledge that different persons employ compiles and varied combinations of different strategies to deal with the same kind of stress. An issue that can be raised while discussing the effectiveness of various coping styles is whether some ways of coping with stress are more effective than others. Any answer to this problem would depend upon the particular situation, the points of time (short or long run) in which stress is being felt, i.e. what may be considered an optimal or a beneficial response in one situation at a particular point of time may be damaging or ineffective in some other situation or at a different point of time. 4 GENDER DIFFERENCES IN COPING STRATEGIES Clearly, there are numerous strategies that people could use for coping with stress. The question is do men and women use the same ones? Research findings on this point are quite mixed. Moreover, the means of classifying coping strategies can be quite different across studies. For example, some researchers make a distinction between problem focused and emotion focused strategies and have shown that men tend to use the more adaptive problem focused coping mechanisms whereas women tend to use less adaptive emotion focused methods (Trocki & Orilio, 1994; Vingerhoets & Van Heck, 1990). Men may be socialized to deal with stress instrumentally, whereas women may be socialized to deal with stress instrumentally, whereas women may be socialized to express emotion (Burke, Weir & DuWors, 1980; Maniero, 1986). Given the same stressor, it is thought that men are more likely to be problem focused whereas women are more likely to be emotion focused (Burke & Belcourt, 1974; Smith & Zanas, 1992). In a recent study (Narayanan et al 1999), men reported using problem solving coping (taking direct action or taking the problem up with their supervisor or head) more than did women, but this gender difference disappeared when the researchers examined how higher level professionals (professors) coped with stress. For this group of workers, both men and women preferred problem focused strategies (Narayanan et al 1999). Other researchers differentiate between control and escape coping mechanisms and have shown that men may use more control coping strategies (e.g. thinking about solutions, gathering information or taking actions) than do women (Billings and Moos, 1980). Women, on the other hand, tend to use more escape coping strategies (e.g. venting or expressing emotions, feeling more depressed, or avoiding stressful situations; Ptacek et al 1994). One

exception to this pattern is that men are more likely to engage in particular types of escape coping strategies, like alcohol and drug abuse (Davidson & Cooper, 1984; Carver, Scheier 7 Weintraub, 1986, 1986). Gianakos (2000) found a similar pattern whereby men are more likely to use strategies that may not be adaptive in the long run, such as coping with workplace stress using alcohol more often than do women, whereas women were more likely than men to cope by working longer and harder. In her conclusions, Ginakos (2002) argues that coping style may indeed be better predicted by gender role than by sex. In her recent review, Greenglass (2002) goes even further. She argues that when demographic factors such as education, occupation, and position are controlled in statistical analyses, few gender differences emerge in coping strategies. In her view, coping strategies may, therefore have less to do with gender than with other forms of resources usually associated with gender, such as status and power. This may help explain the mixed results in htis area of research. For instance, a recent study by Christie and Schultz (1998) found only minimal support for the claim that men and women use different coping mechanisms. Contrary to their hypotheses, the authors found that women use control coping slightly more than do men but that they used escape coping to the same extent. Men also reported higher levels of exercise than did women, suggesting that men are more likely to use exercise to cope with stress than are women, whereas women reported receiving higher levels of emotional social support than did men (Christie and Schultz, 1998). 5 EFFECTIVE & INEFFECTIVE COPING 5.1 Effective Coping Effective methods of coping either remove the source of stress or control our reactions to it. 5.1.1 Removing Stress: One effective way of dealing with stress is to remove the source of stress from our lives. Coping with stress can take the form of locating its source and eliminating it. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. 5.1.2 Cognitive Coping: Our cognitions are intimately linked to our reactions to stressful events. One effective method of coping, then, might be to change how we think about or interpret the events that push and shove our lives. Finding an interpretation that is realistic

and minimizes the stress of the events of our lives is the key part of coping with stress (Taylor, 1999). 5.1.3 Managing stress reactions: When the source of stress cannot realistically be removed or changed, another effective option is to manage our psychological and physiological reactions to the stress. One strategy might be to schedule as much time as possible for relaxing activities, such as aerobic exercise, hobbies or time with friends. Another would be to seek special training from a psychologist in controlling body reactions to stress by learning to deeply relax the large body muscles. 5.2 Ineffective Coping Unfortunately, many of our efforts to cope with stress are ineffective . they may provide temporary relief from the discomfort produced by stress but do little to provide a long term solution and may even make matters worse. The common but ineffective coping strategies are as follows: 5.2.1 Withdrawal: Sometimes we deal with stress by withdrawing from it.it is important to note that, it is not what you do, but how and why you do it, that makes a coping strategy effective or ineffective. There is also a big difference between actually removing a source of stress and withdrawing from it. Aggression: A common reaction to frustration and other stressful situations is aggression. 5.2.2 Defense Mechanisms: According to Freud, one of the key functions of the ego is to defend the person from a buildup of uncomfortable tension. When something stressful occurs (such as frustration or embarrassment)or when conflict arises because the superego blocks an id desire, tension is created that must be discharged somehow. Freud believed that ego possesses a small arsenal of defense mechanisms that are unconsciously used to discharge tension. When they are not overused, defense mechanisms can be a relatively harmless crutch to a healthy personality all of us use them to some extent. Unfortunately, many individuals rely too heavily on defense mechanisms. The major defense mechanisms are as follows:

5.2.2.1 Displacement: When its unsafe or inappropriate to express aggressive or sexual feelings toward the person who is creating stress, that feeling can be directed toward someone safe. 5.2.2.2 Sublimation: Stressful events or dangerous feelings or motives are reduced by converting the impulses into socially approved activities. 5.2.2.3 Projection: Ones own dangerous or unacceptable desires or emotions are seen not as ones own but as the desires or feelings of others. 5.2.2.4 Reaction Formation: Conflicts over dangerous motives or feelings are avoided by unconsciously transforming them into the opposite desire. 5.2.2.5 Regression: Stress may be reduced by returning to an earlier pattern of behaviour. 5.2.2.6 Rationalization: Stress is reduced by explaining it away in ways that sound logical and socially acceptable. 5.2.2.7 Repression: Potentially stressful, unacceptable desires are kept out of consciousness without person being consciously aware that the repression is occurring. 5.2.2.8 Denial: Upsetting or threatening thoughts and emotions related to stressful events are not allowed into conscious awareness. 5.2.2.9 Intellectualization: the emotional nature of stressful events is lessened at times by reducing it to cold, intellectual logic. Defense mechanisms can be effective in the short run in helping us feel better, but they inhibit long term solutions to stress if they distort reality to a greater extent. 6 COPING PROFILE OF SOME GROPUPS 6.1 Using Projective instrument for Coping Styles (PICS) Profiles of coping styles adopted by professional women were drawn Finding: Most often adopted defensive style

Dysfunctional & Avoidance styles twice as often Women entrepreneurs used approach oriented style more than professional women 6.2 Gupta and Murthy (1984) Role conflict & Coping strategies: Indian Women Most Popular: Personal Role Re definition Strategy associated with low role conflict & low Satisfaction with coping Reactive role behavior: Associated with high role conflict & low satisfaction with coping. Adjustment & Compromise: Commonly used & successful methods of coping 6.3 S. Ahmad et al. (1990) Stress & coping strategies: Technocrats Difference in coping styles of male & female technocrats on Role PICS. Sample: 100 executive technocrats (60 males & 40 females) Executive technocrats: Introspective style Defensive Extrapersistive Men: Defensive style Female: Approach style Demographic Variables (age, no. of dependents, income, drinking/smoking habits, health of the individual): Effect on coping strategies 6.4 Kaur & Murthy (1986)

Coping strategies: Managerial Personnel Different levels Public sector Findings: Level wise differences Junior level: Avoidance strategies Senior level: Approach strategies Defensive style: Junior management Impunitive: Middle management Intropersistive: Senior/Top management Positive correlation Role stress & Avoidance strategies Role stress & Externality Externality & Avoidance strategies Negative Correlation Organizational role stress & Approach strategies 6.5 S. Singh (1988) Examined modifying effects of coping strategies(Approach & Avoidance) on relation between perceived role stress & mental health. Efficacy of 2 modes in modifying effect of perceived role stress was tested. Sample: 300 employees supervisory cadre LIC Findings: Employees experienced stress had effect on mental health

Employees high role stress more symptoms: Free floating anxiety, obsessive neurosis, neurotic depression, hysterical neurosis, phobic anxiety, & somatic Concomitants of anxiety.

6.6 Sharma & Acharya (1991) Dominant coping strategies (engineers: 150 Males 30 to 44 yrs Working in state electrical board to deal with job hierarchy & anxiety. Scales: Role PICS(Pareek, 1983) and Job Anxiety (A.K. Srivastava, 1974) Findings: Causal relation between coping & Job anxiety is bidirectional. 6.7 A. K. Srivastava (1991) Examined effects of avoidance & approach modes of coping in relation to organizational stress & mental health. Sample: 300 supervisory personnel(38- 51 yrs) Scales: ORS Scale (Pareek, 1983) Mental Health Questionnaire (O.N. Srivastava & V. K. Bhatt, 1974)

Role PICS (Pareek, 1983) Findings: Role Stress positively correlated to mental illness. Stress from role ambiguity & role stagnation correlated intensively with mental illness Total role stress correlated with somatic concomitants of anxiety Approach group experienced more role stress, but scored lower on mental health questionnaire 6.8 Srivastava & Krishna (1997) Examined relation between approach, avoidance mode & mental health of supervisors Sample: Scales: Role PICS (Pareek, 1983) Mental Health Questionnaire (O. N. Srivastava & V. K. Bhatt, 1974) Avoidance mode of coping manifested Severe symptoms of neuroticism Avoidance coping: more symptoms of somatic concomitant followed by neurotic depression Avoidance coping: positive correlation with 6 dimensions of mental ill health Approach coping: Negative correlation with symptoms of mental ill health Two locus of stress in combination with avoidance mode did not differ in their effect on mental health of supervisors. Perceived internality & externality of stress had different effects on mental health of supervisors when combined with approach mode Supervisors using approach externality coping strategies manifested more severe symptoms of mental ill health than approach internality 300 LIC employees (32 54 yrs)

Major issues to be addressed in understanding link between individual coping efforts & mental health Causal directionality Additive versus interaction mechanism Effect of perceived coping efficacy on relation between coping strategies & psychological symptoms 6.9 Verma et al. (1995) Examined coping strategies college students Sample: 2 groups - 120 male & 85 female students (19 20 yrs). Scale: Reaction to Hassles/ Coping Strategies Questionnaire Results were discussed under 4 coping styles: Seeking help, cognitive appraisal, emotional defusing, withdrawal. Findings: Difficult situations: coped in mature manner Daily problems: Withdrawal

Gender differences: Males: Refuge in alcohol/drugs Confronted the problem Females: Resorted to prayer & hoped for better Became emotionally upset

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