Maria Grazia Monaci, Pio Enrico Ricci Bitti

Strategie di coping e contesto sociale: un confronto fra adulti e adolescenti

  • Abstract

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The present research studies the coping strategies that people adopt in emotion-eliciting situations, examining the influence of absence or presence of other people and the differences between adults and adolescents, with the hypotheses that social context plays a relevant role in shaping the different components of the emotional process, and that it would influence adolescents to a greater extent than adults. The study has been carried out presenting subjects with vignettes describing an identical emotional event (communication of the result of an exam) in different social context (presence/absence of others) and with different outcomes (success/failure). The different vignettes have been presented to adolescents (n = 155) and adults (n = 128) who then filled out a questionnaire; main variables concerned emotions, cognitive appraisals and coping strategies. Findings show that situations with presence of others are rated more emotionally intense. Moreover, even though adults and adolescents appraised the situations in almost the identical guise and felt similar emotions, they adopted significantly different coping strategies, especially in presence of others; in particular, adolescents seek less social support and adopt emotion-focused strategies more than adults.

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