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Stress, coping and mental health : applications to adolescents in custody


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Bickel, Rosie 2001 , 'Stress, coping and mental health : applications to adolescents in custody', Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Stress and coping are some of the most widely studied phenomena in psychology today.
Several important theories concerning stress, resilience, and coping have been postulated.
Careful review of the literature in this area suggests that firstly stress is a heterogeneous set of
environmental situations or events which can be classified and which require different
responses and result in different effects; secondly a relationship between types of stress, levels
of perceived control, styles of coping and measures of well-being or maladjustment exists.
Further review of research concerning the link between mental illness and coping strategies
reveals that adults and adolescents at risk of, or currently suffering from depression or anxiety
are more likely to use less problem-focused coping and more emotion-focused coping. It is
suggested that conduct disordered adolescents are more likely to have experienced chronic
severe stress and therefore use more emotion-focused coping responses. Further research is
necessary, linking coping responses of conduct disordered adolescents with different types of
stress, and differentiating between pure and comorbid conduct disordered youth.
It has been suggested that reacting to a chronic severe stressor with avoidance, particularly
behavioural avoidance coping responses is adaptive, and that a background of chronic severe
stress leads to low resilience and a low level of approach coping skills. Residents (N=50) of a
youth detention centre completed the Coping Responses Inventory — Youth (CRI-Y) and the
Adolescent Psychopathology Scale (APS) , and 61 students from state schools completed only
the CRI-Y. As expected, residents used more avoidant coping, more behavioural coping, and
less approach coping than controls. Most of the stressors reported by residents were chronic
and severe (98%), as compared to 6.5% of controls' stressors. As many as 57% of Ashley
participants scored positive for at least one emotional disorder and they used less behavioural
approach coping strategies than those suffering from conduct disorder only. It is suggested
that the adaptiveness of avoidant coping as a reaction to chronic severe stress must be
recognised and that specialised coping programs could help address low approach coping
abilities in this group.

Item Type: Thesis - Coursework Master
Authors/Creators:Bickel, Rosie
Keywords: Adjustment (Psychology) in adolescence, Teenagers, Stress in adolescence, Adolescent psychology
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2001 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.Psych.)--University of Tasmania, 2002. Includes bibliographical references

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