Scientific journal

New Psychological Research

Belinskaya E.P. Youth perceptions of difficult life situations: cross-cultural differences

Elena P. Belinskaya, Ph.D (Psychology), Dr.Prof., Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia; bld.11–9, Mokhovaya str., Moscow, Russia, 125009; Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russia; bld. 6, Miusskaya square, Moscow, Russia, 125047; Psychological Institute of Russian Academy of Education, Moscow, Russia; bld. 9–4, Mokhovaya str., Moscow, Russia, 125009; elena_belinskaya@list.ru

The modern transitive society makes increased demands on the adaptive potential of the individual. This is of particular importance in adolescence and youth, since at this age stage, due to the still insufficient life experience of overcoming difficulties, on the one hand, and the objectively high need for multiple social choices, on the other, heterochronism of personal and social development becomes one of the essential factors of psychological human well-being. One of the components of the latter is the availability of effective strategies for coping with difficult life situations. From our point of view, the ultimate effectiveness of coping strategies is determined by the combination of proactive and reactive components of coping, which is mediated by both personal (tolerance to uncertainty, awareness, self-efficacy) and situational (current affective state), and socio-cognitive factors (cognitive assessment of a difficult situation, the experience of relative deprivation, social beliefs). This approach allows us to consider the idea of difficult life situations and the resources to overcome them as a special case of a culturally specific picture of the social world of a person. The research interest is the discovery of the culturally universal and culturally specific in these interrelationships. In a series of empirical studies on samples of Russian (N = 515) and Uzbek (N = 482) young people (median age = 21.4), it was shown that predictors of the choice of a significant part of reactive and proactive coping strategies have cultural invariance, as well as the topics of descriptions of characteristic difficult life situations. Thus, the following are culturally universal: the relationship between the choice of effective strategies for reactive and proactive coping (in particular, strategies for seeking instrumental support) with a number of indicators of the level of awareness, as well as a high tolerance for uncertainty and a high level of self-efficacy; mediating the connection between the parameters of reactive and proactive coping with the peculiarities of the cognitive assessment of a difficult life situation; thematic content of difficult life situations (death / illness of loved ones, interpersonal conflicts, decision-making related to social choices, learning difficulties) and the impact of experiencing relative deprivation on the choice of such a destructive strategy of reactive coping as avoidance. According to the obtained empirical data, the following are culturally specific: the degree of individualization of coping strategies and the dynamics of the I-Other relationships in conflict situations of interpersonal communication; a combination of a reactive avoidance strategy with a number of proactive coping strategies; the nature of the relationship between the indicators of the level of awareness. On the whole, the obtained data allow us to conclude that a comprehensive consideration of various predictors of effective coping in youth indicates cultural universality rather than cultural specificity of coping parameters, which, in turn, may act as indirect evidence of the mutual influence of cultures in the modern situation of transitivity.

Key words: transitivity, reactive coping, proactive coping, difficult life situations, coping strategies, coping resources, cross-cultural differences, awareness, self-efficacy, uncertainty tolerance, relative deprivation

For citation: Belinskaya, E.P. (2021). Youth perceptions of difficult life situations: cross-cultural differences. New Psychological Research, No. 4, 109–121. DOI: 10.51217/npsyresearch_2021_01_04_06

 

Acknowledgment

The article prepared within a state task, project ААА-А-А19-119012990181-0.

keywords: transitivity, reactive coping, proactive coping, difficult life situations, coping strategies, coping resources, cross-cultural differences, awareness, self-efficacy, uncertainty tolerance, relative deprivation

received 28 December 2021

published 28 December 2021

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