Meaning in life and sense of coherence as predictors of coping among young adults

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dc.contributor.advisor Prof. A.D. Stuart Prof. H.G. Pretorius en
dc.contributor.author Hutchinson, Ann-Marie Kerr
dc.date.accessioned 2008-11-06T07:30:15Z
dc.date.available 2008-11-06T07:30:15Z
dc.date.issued 2008-11-06T07:30:15Z
dc.date.submitted 2005-11
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/1540
dc.description M.A. en
dc.description.abstract Late adolescence/young adulthood is characterised by turbulence and major life transitions, and individuals in this life stage are confronted with stressors on a daily basis (Santrock, 2003). This situation necessitates adequate coping so that these young people can negotiate the transition between childhood and adulthood successfully. Health practitioners and educators need to establish ways to enhance adequate coping in young people in order to minimise their stress and ward off negative and unwanted consequences of stressors; consequences such as addictions, suicide, depression and other pathologies (Frydenberg & Lewis, 2004; Puskar, Hoover & Miewald, 1992). Research shows that more and more young people are reporting that their lives seem hopeless and meaningless (Santrock, 2003). Clearly it is beneficial to investigate the relationship between meaning, well-being and coping with stress in young adults. Past research has investigated meaning in life and sense of coherence and other wellbeing measures on adults who have already established themselves, and very specific samples, such as elderly people, the terminally ill and employees in the workplace (for example Marais & Stuart, 2005; Shek, 2003; Strümpfer & Mlonzi, 2001; Yiu-Kee & Tang, 2005). However, researchers have debated the extent to which any real progress has been made in the field of stress and coping (see Coyne & Racioppo, 2000; Lazarus, 2000; Lewis & Frydenberg, 2002; Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000; Somerfield & McCrae, 2000). These and other studies have been critically evaluated in the current study, and it is clear that research is needed on meaning in life and well-being in late adolescence/young adulthood in order to assess how young people cope with stressors. Furthermore, research is needed on young people in SouthAfrica, in order to ascertain how they cope with stressors that may be countryspecific. The overall aim of the study was to establish whether there are relationships between meaning in life, sense of coherence and the ability to cope in young adults. More specifically, the study aimed to ascertain whether the extent to which an individual has discovered meaning in life and the extent to which he/she has developed a sense of coherence predicts coping with stress in a late adolescent/young adult population. A quantitative research methodology was conducted on a sample of male and female young adults (N=258). The participants were selected from a tertiary institution and had an average age range of 17 to 21 years. The measurement instruments have been used in previous research and were deemed culturally fair with valid and reliable psychometric properties. All three questionnaires were self-report measures. In order to assess the extent to which an individual has found meaning in their lives, the Purpose in Life Test (Crumbaugh & Maholick, 1981) was used. To ascertain whether or not an individual had developed a strong sense of coherence, the Orientation to Life questionnaire, also known as the Sense of Coherence scale (Antonovsky, 1987) was used. The Adolescent Coping Scale (Frydenberg & Lewis, 1993) was used to determine the ability to cope in young people. Various statistical analyses were conducted on the raw data collected from the questionnaires. Factor analyses were conducted to determine the internal validity and reliability of the measuring instruments. The distribution of the data within the subscales was tested for normality. Analysis of variance was used to determinewhether certain biographical variables could account for any differences in meaning in life, sense of coherence and ability to cope. Pearson product moment correlations were used. Thereafter both multiple regression and logistic regression were performed to determine if meaning in life and sense of coherence can predict differences in ability to cope. The results indicate that the constructs explored, as measured by the questionnaires, were not influenced by the age, gender, home language or direction of study of the participants. The sample could therefore be regarded as fairly homogeneous and the effect of confounding variables limited. However, as a result of this homogeneity, the findings of this study cannot necessarily be generalised to other populations. Findings indicate that there are relationships between meaning in life and the ability to cope. This finding points to the possibility that the extent to which an individual has discovered meaning in life, or the extent to which an individual views his or her life as meaningful is related to his or her ability to select effective coping strategies. Furthermore it was found that there are relationships between sense of coherence as well as the individual components of sense of coherence, namely comprehensibility, manageability and meaningfulness, and the ability to cope. This finding suggests that the extent to which an individual has developed a sense of coherence is related to his or her ability to select effective coping strategies. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Young adults mental health en
dc.subject Stress in youth en
dc.subject Stress (Psychology) en
dc.subject Adjustment (Psychology) en
dc.title Meaning in life and sense of coherence as predictors of coping among young adults en
dc.type Thesis en

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