Strain, coping, and adaptation in early adolescence

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Role strain, coping, and adaptational outcomes were examined for a sample of 205 eighth grade adolescents. Differences by gender and family type on amount of role strain, use of coping strategies, and levels of emotional stress and well-being in family and peer roles were identified. Results indicate gender differences in degree of strain experienced in the family role and in use of Social Support and Ventilation as coping strategies. Female adolescents report significantly greater strain than males in family roles. Females, in comparison to males, use Social Support to a significantly greater degree and Ventilation significantly less often as a coping response. Differences by family type were found for the use of Family Support as a coping strategy. Adolescents in single-parent families utilize Family Support as a coping strategy significantly less often than adolescents in two-parent families. Results are discussed and directions for future research are recommended.