Article

Flexible coping responses to severe acute respiratory syndrome‐related and daily life stressful events

Department of Psychology, Peking University, Peping, Beijing, China
Asian Journal Of Social Psychology (Impact Factor: 0.83). 03/2004; 7(1):55 - 66. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-839X.2004.00134.x

ABSTRACT Based on the theoretical framework of coping flexibility, the present study examined the coping flexibility of university students in response to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-related and daily life stressful events. The Coping Flexibility Questionnaire was used to investigate 93 university students’ coping responses toward 10 SARS-related stressful events and 10 daily life stressful events that generally occur among university students. Results showed that the patterns of coping flexibility were different for the two types of stressful events. The flexible and the active-inflexible patterns were most commonly found in coping with daily life stressful events. By contrast, the passive-inconsistent pattern was dominant when coping with daily life stressful events. Moreover, participants showed lower discriminating ability to situation controllability, and displayed poorer strategy-situation fit to cope with SARS-related events than with daily life stressful events. The theoretical and practical implications of this study are discussed.

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    • "There are reasons to expect that some of the previously found associations between coping and adjustment in dealing with common life stressors might not generalize to coping with SARSrelated stressors. Consistent with the perspective that avoidant coping may be more adaptive than active coping in the face of uncontrollable stressors, Gan et al. (2004) found that college students reported using less active (problem-focused) coping strategies and more avoidant (emotion-focused) coping strategies in response to SARS-related stressors (which were rated by participants as less controllable) than to daily stressors during the outbreak . Therefore, avoidant coping with SARS-related stressors may be associated with less psychological distress (especially when the individual is experiencing a large number of stressors), which buffers the negative effect of stressors on adjustment. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the main and interactive relations of stressors and coping related to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) with Chinese college students' psychological adjustment (psychological symptoms, perceived general health, and life satisfaction) during the 2003 Beijing SARS epidemic. All the constructs were assessed by self-report in an anonymous survey during the final period of the outbreak. Results showed that the relations of stressors and coping to psychological adjustment varied by domain of adjustment. Regression analyses suggested that the number of stressors and use of avoidant coping strategies positively predicted psychological symptoms. Active coping positively predicted life satisfaction when controlling for stressors. Moreover, all types of coping served as a buffer against the negative impact of stressors on perceived general health. These findings hold implications for university counseling services during times of acute, large-scale stressors. In particular, effective screening procedures should be developed to identify students who experience a large number of stressors and thus are at high risk for developing mental health problems. Intervention efforts that target coping should be adapted to take account of the uncontrollability of stressors and clients' cultural preferences for certain coping strategies. A multidimensional battery of psychological adjustment should be used to monitor clients' psychological adjustment to stressors and evaluate the efficacy of intervention.
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    • "In their sample of Peking University undergraduate students, their findings revealed that students who regarded daily stressful events as controllable applied problem-focused coping strategies (i.e., a good coping strategy-situation fit); whereas students who perceived SARS-related events as uncontrollable applied emotion-focused and problem-focused coping strategies interchangeably. Gan et al. (2004) concluded that compared to daily stressful events, students responded to SARS stressful events: (1) with a significantly diminished ability to assess situational controllability and (2) by applying significantly poorer and more inconsistent strategy-situation coping methods. Given that the research base on SARS is still relatively sparse, the extensive literature on stress, coping, and burnout is useful in understanding the impact that SARS had on nurses. "
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    • "For example, informational support consists of disseminating information to employees, whereas emotional support includes listening and having empathy for employees. Studies involving Chinese university students have shown that a lack of information about SARS hindered their ability to apply appropriate coping strategies (Cheng & Cheung, 2005; Gan, Liu, & Zhang, 2004). Tam et al. (2004) found that inadequate levels of emotional support, in the form of counseling, predicted psychological morbidity and distress in 652 frontline health-care workers. "
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    ABSTRACT: The present study tests a psychosocial model of factors predicting emotional exhaustion and state anger in 333 nurses who worked during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak. Predictors included working conditions, feedback, risk of contracting SARS, and perceived organiza- tional support. Results of path analysis revealed that working conditions contributed significantly to an increase in perceived SARS threat, which led to increased emotional exhaustion and state anger. Positive feedback was directly and positively related to organizational support. Higher levels of or- ganizational support predicted lower perceived SARS threat, emotional exhaustion, and state anger. Implications for health-care providers are discussed.
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