Coping responses and psychological resources as mediators in the stress process for dual-career women

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


The stress process was examined for a sample of 94 dual-career women. The relationship between sources (role strain), mediators (coping responses, psychological resources of self-esteem and low self-denigration, number and age of children), and outcome (feelings associated with role strains) was quantitatively assessed via factor analysis to determine the efficacy of mediators in the stress process. Seven coping strategies were identified: Cognitive Restructuring, Delegating Responsibility, Limiting Responsibility, Integrating Work and Family, Avoiding Responsibility, and Using Social Support. Results indicated that strain accounts for a large portion of the variation in stress. Cognitive Restructuring was the most crucial coping response in the stress process, having the greatest effect in reducing not only strain, but also stress; low self-denigration was the most critical psychological resource, buffering both strain and stress levels. Limiting Responsibility was associated with higher levels of strain. In addition, stress was found to increase as number of children increased and as age of youngest child decreased.