The impact of stress and coping strategies on life satisfaction in a national sample of adolescents: a structural equation modelling approach

Milas, Goran and Martinović Klarić, Irena and Malnar, Ana and Saftić, Vanja and Šupe-Domić, Daniela and Slavich, George M. (2021) The impact of stress and coping strategies on life satisfaction in a national sample of adolescents: a structural equation modelling approach. Stress and health, 37 (5). pp. 1026-1034. ISSN 1532-3005 (Print); 1532-2998 (Online)

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Although stress strongly predicts life satisfaction, the psychosocial mechanisms underlying this association remain unclear. To investigate the possible mediating role of coping, we conducted a cross‐sectional study that assessed youths' life stress levels, propensity to engage in three different coping styles (i.e., active coping, internal coping, & withdrawal), and life satisfaction in a probabilistic, twostage stratifed cluster sample of 1830 high school seniors (986 females ; age range 17–22 years old) from 26 schools in or around the four largest cities in Croatia. We used correlational analyses and structural equation modelling to test the hypothesis that coping mediates the relation between stress and life satisfaction. The tested model was marginally acceptable χ2 = 1613.85, df = 177, p < 0.001, goodness‐of‐ft‐index = 0.92, Comparative Fit Index = 0.91, Tucker‐ Lewis Index = 0.89, root mean square error of approximation = 0.067 (90% CI = 0.064 to 0.070), standardized root mean squared residual = 0.056. As hypothesized, stress was related to life satisfaction directly (βc’ = −0.22, p < 0.01) but also indirectly (βab = −0.05, p < 0.01) by affecting youths' likelihood of engaging in withdrawal behaviours, such as avoiding problems, distracting, or using anger, alcohol, or drugs. The proportion of the total effect mediated by withdrawal was 19.4%. In contrast, neither active nor internal coping were signifcant mediators. Based on these results, we conclude that preventive and educational programs for enhancing youth mental health may beneft from reducing adolescents' stress levels and stress‐related withdrawal behaviour, and by encouraging youth to use active coping strategies instead.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Language: English.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Coping, development, life stress, mental health, prevention, resilience, risk
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Depositing User: Karolina
Date Deposited: 10 May 2021 08:40
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2022 09:47

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