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Literature Review on Gender Differences in Coping Strategies of Human Beings

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Essay title: Literature Review on Gender Differences in Coping Strategies of Human Beings

It is an established fact that men and women differ in many ways, with different emotions and perceptions, with different personality characteristics (Burr, 1998). There has been much debate regarding the different gender related issues as more and more researches are being conducted. Although much of the research on gender is surrounded by controversy, researchers still ponder over different issues concerning gender differences. Many issues have been taken to account such as stress levels, adaptation and social relationships which are some of the areas in which there are significant gender differences (Larsen & Buss, 2002). Gender difference in coping is an interesting issue among these various issues regarding gender differences. The different coping styles adapted by the different sexes itself shows that there are evident differences between how both sexes cope with stress and chaotic life experiences. Researches show that men adapt more action direct approaches than women in stressful work situations (Porter & Stone, 1995). This literature review focuses on 8 different researches done illustrating this issue.

In a research done by Fagot & Hamilton, 1988 a comparison of chronic stress and coping styles of female and male undergraduates were done. The aim of this study was to “study the expressive instrumental coping dichotomy by evaluating gender differences to stressful events that are experienced on a daily basis by men and women” (Fagot et al. 1988, p.819). 56 women and 43 men from University of Oregon who were in their first year of undergraduate level were selected as participants. 3 telephone interviews per week for 8 weeks were conducted by trained research assistants. By the end of 24 phone calls the number of participants was declined to 51 women and 39 men. “The coping strategies were coded as expressive or instrumental” (Fagot et al. 1988, p.821). Expressive was when the coping strategy used by the participant was mainly focused on feelings, emotions and thoughts without any focus on solving the problem or improvising the situation. Instrumental was when the coping strategy was rather focused on solving the problem on a behavioral or cognitive basis. “Analyses of variance were used to test gender differences in frequency of daily stressors, concomitant perceptions of stress, and utilization of problem-solving behaviors” (Fagot et al. 1988, p.819). The hypothesis that was used was that men and women use different strategies to cope with certain stressful situations. The most of the analyses showed no significant differences in the coping styles, however more number of women reported facing stressful situations than the number of men and there were certain differences in the types of situations such as unhappiness with weight for women (Fagot et al. 1988)

Another study portraying this topic was conducted by William Borden and Sharon Berlin in 1990. The main focus of this study was to determine the relationships among gender, coping styles and psychological well-being in spouses of older adults with chronic dementia. 61 participants majority consisting of women by 59 percent, who were spousal caregivers of older adults with chronic dementia were taken as subjects. The participants underwent self-report instruments and a questionnaire that assessed demographic data, illness characteristics, average amount of time spent with patient and use of supportive services (Berlin & Borden, 1990). The seriousness of dementia as to be found on the degree of memory and behavioral impairment was determined by the Memory and Behavior Problems Checklist, Part A (Zarit and Zarit , 1983 as cited by Berlin et al. 1990). Coping strategies were assessed by the Ways of Coping Checklist (Lazarus and Folkman, 1984 as cited by Berlin et al. 1990), in order to assess the coping strategies and well-being further. The results showed that no sex differences were found in five types of emotion-focused coping. They were wishful thinking, detachment, focusing on the positive, keeping to self, and self-blame. However on the other two types women showed to go for more. They are support seeking and tense reduction strategies. These results seem to imply that there are no significant differences between the two sexes when coping strategies are concerned (Berlin et al. 1990)

A research named �Patterns of Coping Preferences for Male and Female Caregivers of Frail Older Adults’ was conducted by Helen M. De Veries, David W. Hamilton, Steven Lovett and Dolores Gallagher-Thompson in 1997. The aim of this study was to learn about the similarities and differences in male and female caregivers’ preferred strategies for coping and the perceived helpfulness of these strategies in managing caregiving stressors were examined in this study (DeVeries et al, 1997). The subjects in this study consisted of 139 men and 31 women

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