Pedagogy and educationReference:
Investigation of the Relationship Between Emotional Well-being and Coping Behavior in Adolescence
Abstract: The subject of the study is an empirical analysis of the relationship between the level of emotional well-being and coping behavior of adolescents In the course of the study, a technique for diagnosing stress-coping behavior was used (D. Amirkhan). In order to assess socio-psychological distress and destructive behavior, an express assessment map was developed, including a study of socio-environmental (social distress, social maladjustment, sustained social isolation) and psychological markers (accentuated features of age-related personality development, destructive communication/aggression, psychological maladjustment, autoaggression). Thanks to the correlation analysis carried out according to the r-Spearman criterion, it was possible to establish the essential interrelations of socio-environmental markers of emotional distress of adolescents with coping strategies. As a result of the conducted research, it was found that the reaction of adolescents to socio-environmental distress is associated with the ability to overcome difficult life periods. With the ability of a teenager to independently resolve existing difficulties or turn to social support, it is easier for a teenager to endure external disharmony, which allows him to maintain emotional stability. In conditions when a teenager does not have constructive ways of coping and is not ready to tell others about his experiences, social distress is aggravated by emotional disharmony, which leads to the development of stable social isolation and autoaggression. Also in our article, ways of working with adolescents with different levels of emotional distress were proposed.
Keywords:emotional distress of a teenager, coping behavior strategy, social environment problems, accentuations of age-related development, social maladjustment, destructive communications, psychological maladaptation, socio-environmental factors, emotional stability, ability to overcome difficulties
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Modern socio-economic instability of society, as well as various kinds of modernization in the educational environment, contribute to the concentration of researchers' attention on the peculiarities of subjective experience of emotional well-being by adolescents in the current changing living conditions. Subjective experience of emotional well-being is an important characteristic of the socialization of adolescents. The study of the problem of their adaptation in the modern world, their stress resistance is one of the most urgent tasks of modern psychological and pedagogical science and education today.
The impact of negative factors on a teenager can lead to the formation of emotional distress and, as a result, the emergence of destructive behavior. Having considered the existing approaches to the definition of emotional distress, we propose the following definition. Emotional distress is a negative emotional state caused by external (family relationships, with peers, with significant adults) or internal (intrapersonal conflicts) factors, expressed in reactions of inadequate emotional interaction with people around them; the predominance of negative emotions, anxiety and the dominance of fears exceeding the age norm; pronounced low self-esteem (A.V. Zaporozhets, A.I. Zakharov, I. V. Faustova, etc.) .
Stress provoked by various external and internal factors leads to activation of coping strategies. Against the background of emotional distress of a teenager, the resulting stress can be experienced through destructive, deviant behavior. It is known that "behavior that allows a subject to cope with stress or a difficult life situation with the help of conscious actions in ways adequate to personal characteristics and the situation" is described in the literature as coping behavior [1, p.149]. Based on all this, we were interested in the question of the relationship between factors reflecting emotional distress and coping strategies of adolescents.
In the course of the study, a technique for diagnosing stress-coping behavior was used (D. Amirkhan). This diagnostic tool allows you to identify the severity of the main coping strategies: problem solving, search for social support, avoidance.
In order to assess socio-psychological distress and destructive behavior, an express assessment map was developed, including a study of socio-environmental (social distress, social maladaptation, sustained social isolation) and psychological markers (accentuated features of age-related personality development, destructive communication/aggression, psychological maladaptation, autoaggression).
Adolescents aged 12-16 years were invited to participate in the study, including 39 girls and 36 boys. The total sample size was 65 people.
Thanks to the correlation analysis carried out according to the r-Spearman criterion, it was possible to establish the following interrelations of socio-environmental markers of emotional distress of adolescents with coping strategies.
In adolescents in a disadvantaged socio-environmental situation, the "problem solving" strategy dominates, and there are also direct correlations with the dominance of such coping as "problem solving" (r=0.317, at p?0.01), "search for social support" (r=0.244, at p?0.05) and "avoidance" (r=0.252, at p?0.05).
This suggests that students living in a dysfunctional family, being in an antisocial reference group or showing some signs of deviant behavior may use different ways of coping with their emotional state. Such adolescents are able to independently seek solutions to their difficulties, while seeking support from a reference group or significant adults. At the same time, when faced with an insurmountable situation, they are able to escape into avoidance and cope with the situation through various methods of sublimation.
Adolescents from the subgroup of social maladjustment have pronounced coping associated with avoidance, and markers of this category have a direct relationship with such a coping strategy as "avoidance" (r=0.321, at p <0.01) and an inverse correlation with the "search for social support" (r=-0.399, at p <0.001).
This may indicate that students who are prone to conflicts, avoidance of contacts and verbal, non-verbal manifestations of their emotional distress when coping with stress often resort to avoidance in solving the problem. Teenagers of this group tend to get into opposition with a significant environment more often and live their difficulties through indirect ways of attracting attention without being ready to solve and overcome emerging problems.
With stable social isolation, the avoidance strategy dominates, adolescents have inverse relationships with such strategies as "problem solving" (r=-0.248, at p<0.05), "search for social support" (r=-0.319, at p<0.01) and a strong direct relationship with coping "avoidance" (r= 0.324, at p?0.01).
Such relationships can mean that teenagers who are in a passive role to a group of peers, who do not receive recognition from society and are isolated from it, as well as experiencing attacks from others and prone to autoaggression cope with their condition through avoidance and are not able to take responsibility, look for ways out of an intolerable situation, and are also not ready to receive social support from others.
Considering the relationship of coping with psychological markers of emotional distress, the following correlations have been established.
The accentuation of the features of the age-related personality development of adolescents implies the severity of avoidance strategies and is directly interrelated with this strategy (r=0.401, at p?0.001), and also inversely correlates with the "search for social support" (r=-0.332, at p?0.01).
Teenagers who have various kinds of excessive manifestations of age characteristics of this period tend to avoid a direct collision with the problem more often in stressful situations, try to avoid it and tend to think that they will not cope with the problem on their own. However, it is difficult for them to seek help from others, they tend to attract attention through conflicts with others.
Destructive communication negatively correlates with the search for social support (r=-0.354, at p<0.01) and positively with avoidance (r=-0.332, at p<0.01). Teenagers who are prone to verbal and nonverbal aggression towards others, to indifference and emotional coldness in relationships with others see one of the ways to cope with stress in receiving support from others. However, such children do not know how it can be obtained, therefore they are prone to opposition, confrontation with others, thereby providing themselves with the only way of contact that they can imagine. Without receiving support from others, teenagers with destructive communication cope with their problems by switching attention to other aspects of life, preferring not to get involved in their experiences and keep the focus on others.
In adolescents with mental maladaptation, the avoidance strategy dominates, while there is a negative relationship with such a coping strategy as "problem solving" (r= -0.456, at p?0.001) and a positive one with "avoidance" (r=0.472, at p?0.001).
The result suggests that students who are in a state of mental maladaptation, when faced with difficult experiences, are convinced that they will not be able to cope with them on their own, which leads to the activation of various kinds of avoidance strategies. Such teenagers, being in unfavorable circumstances, also feel internal emotional distress, but they are not able to cope with it and experience it in themselves, avoiding contact with triggers.
When a child is in a state of autoaggression, the avoidance strategy dominates, this strategy positively correlates with the markers of this group. Such teenagers are not able to think about solving the problem in a stressful situation, their negative emotional state acts as a dominant, contributing to closeness, reducing contacts with the environment and avoiding the problem. The teenager sees the only way out of this situation in aggression directed at himself, in suicidal manifestations associated with avoiding a direct collision and experiencing the difficulties that have developed.
Thus, we can say that teenagers who are in disadvantaged conditions, but at the same time emotionally stable, are able to concentrate on solving the problem and finding points of support and support from others. While children with psychological manifestations of distress are focused only on avoiding difficulties, they are not ready to face their experiences associated with a negative emotional state of the individual.
Let's look at ways to work with teenagers who are in varying degrees of emotional distress.
Conventionally, combining socio-environmental and psychological categories, adolescents can be divided into several groups.
The first group is associated with finding a teenager in a socially unfavorable environment, while remaining in an emotionally prosperous state, thanks to the activation of constructive ways of coping. In this case, the teacher should pay attention to the child's social environment, identify those areas that are associated with unfavorable conditions and work to change them. At the same time, it is important to support the child in his readiness to cope with difficulties.
The second group includes socially maladapted adolescents with accentuated age characteristics. In this case, the teacher, on the one hand, it is important to pay attention to the reference group of the teenager, including the formation of a favorable climate in the classroom, and. on the other, to the development of constructive coping, directing the child to activate internal resources for the development of independence in coping with difficulties. This work can be organized in cooperation with a psychologist.
The third group involves the social maladaptation of the child with the inclusion of aggression and destructive communication. In this case, it is important for the teacher to work together with a psychologist and teach the child constructive ways to find social support, establish communication within the class team, develop cohesion and friendliness of adolescents.
The fourth group includes adolescents with persistent social isolation and mental maladaptation. In this case, the teacher needs to work in close cooperation with the social pedagogue and psychologist, while discussing all the observed changes in behavior and social environment with other specialists and developing a general strategy for changing the psychological state of the child and his social conditions. It is important to try to establish relationships with such a teenager, pay attention to those peers who impress him, and include them in joint activities. Among other things, it is necessary to organize work with parents – as one of the factors of social isolation.
The fifth group includes adolescents in stable social isolation with signs of autoaggression and suicidal tendencies. In this case, it is necessary to immediately attract specialists: a psychologist, a social pedagogue. It is also necessary to inform parents and build further work with teenagers based on the individual characteristics of the child.
Thus, we conducted a study according to which it was possible to establish that the reaction of adolescents to socio-environmental distress is associated with the ability to overcome difficult life periods. With the ability of a teenager to independently resolve existing difficulties or turn to social support, it is easier for a teenager to endure external disharmony, which allows him to maintain emotional stability. In conditions when a teenager does not have constructive ways of coping and is not ready to tell others about his experiences, social distress is aggravated by emotional disharmony, which leads to the development of stable social isolation and autoaggression.
List of used literature
1. Kryukova, T. L. Psychology of coping behavior: current state, problems and prospects // Bulletin of Kostroma State University. Series: Pedagogy. Psychology. Sociokinetics. 2008. No. 4. URL: https://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/psihologiya-sovladayuschego-povedeniya-sovremennoe-sostoyanie-problemy-i-perspektivy (date of application: 08/18/2022).
2. Faustova, I.V. Psychological and pedagogical conditions for overcoming emotional distress of older preschool children: abstract. dis. ... Candidate of Pedagogical Sciences. – Yelets, 2011. – p. 24.