A Comparison of Stress and Coping Styles in Men and Women

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It is a fact that men and women differ in many ways. Various researchers have pondered, and tried

to determine the differences that may exist in coping styles and levels of stress in men and women.

Despite the many studies that have been done on the relationship between stress and health, the

nature of this has not yet been clearly established (Matud, 2004). Coping has been defined as the

constantly changing cognitive and behavioural efforts to manage specific external and/or internal

demands that have been evaluated as taking up, or exceeding the resources of the person (Lazarus

and Folkman, n.d. as cited in Matud, 2004).

The term stress has been defined in various ways as many factors contribute to the incline of a

persons stress levels,eg: environment (stimuli) and life events. These are referred to as stressors.

When an individual's ability to adapt is challenged it causes physiological responses, such as

increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and the presence of hormones and neurotransmitters

(Selye, 1993). These reactions heighten the arousal of an organism to effectively deal with stress,

Selye et al., 1993. Suldo, Shaunessy and Hardesty (2008) discovered it is possible to adapt to

normal levels of stress; as this heightened arousal prepares an organism to effectively deal with

stress. When these levels exceed the normal levels often and/or for extended periods of time, health

and mood deteriorate, leading to positive rather than negative coping strategies.

Researchers, in particular Matud (2004) have conducted studies to discover which

gender is more susceptible to stress, the environmental and life events that contribute to increased


... middle of paper ...

... Matud (2004), who explored gender

differences in some stress process variables in a broad range of the general population. The aim of

the research conducted was to address the differences in stress between men and women, and their

differences in coping styles and emotional control Matud et al. In comparison to examining

subjects with similar life history and social roles, observing representatives of all the

sociodermographic groups could yield varied results. However, once these results are determined a

more accurate result can be achieved. It could be assumed that positive coping methods offered by

professionals, could be more effective if it is known how men and women cope with stress.

Although these coping strategies may vary in relation to men and women, the outcomes could be

more effective than a "one for all" solution.

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