Abstract: (WITHDRAWN) Coping Strategies in Young Adults (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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71P (WITHDRAWN) Coping Strategies in Young Adults

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Sarah Herrera, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX
Background/Purpose: In 2000, psychologist Jeffery Arnett proposed a new life development stage from the ages 18-25 known as “emerging adulthood.” During this stage, identity development and transitioning into adulthood can bring feelings of instability (Hendry & Kloep, 2007). This time of transition can have an increase in perceived stress, suicide rates, and other mental health concerns (Johnson, Gans, Kerr & LaValle, 2010). Further, emerging adults who perceive this instability as negative participate in fewer prosocial behaviors and struggle with identity development (Nelson & Padilla-Walker, 2013). While unique issues have been identified for this life stage, little is known about coping mechanisms during distress unique to this stage. This study aims to understand what coping strategies increase the likelihood for positive mental health outcomes.

Methods: This study uses secondary with a sample of male and female college students ages 18-29 (N=390). Coping strategies were defined using the COPE inventory and mental health was measured using the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWL) and the 6-Item Kutcher Adolescent Depression Scale (KADS). Multiple regression was used to identify what coping strategies that predict higher satisfaction with life.

Results: Results indicated problem-focused coping strategies were a strong predictor of satisfaction with life, while avoidance strategies were associated with negative outcomes. There were no significant differences between male and female participants

Conclusions and Implications: The results indicated young adults are more likely to have higher satisfaction with life when using problem-solving coping strategies to face distressing events. However, this transition to adulthood may leave many emerging adults at a loss for how to problem-solve specific tasks. Employers and higher education institutes should focus on (1) providing more information on how to navigate common expectations within the work and school environment and (2) cultivate general problem-solving strategies that may not have been developed in their childhood. Further, mental health practitioners, specifically on college campuses should develop programming focused on normalizing the challenge of transitioning to adulthood and exploring which coping strategies can be helpful or harmful.