Adaptive and Maladaptive Coping Strategies for Perceived Stress and Their Relationship with Quality of Life
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Perceived stress affects the lives of every person to some degree. This stress and its consequential factors often lead to negative outcomes including depression, anxiety, and other psychological disorders. To cope with this stress, individuals often utilize adaptive and/or maladaptive coping strategies. These chosen coping methods can either positively or negatively affect a person’s quality of life. In this study, it was predicted that those espousing adaptive coping strategies more frequently would experience higher levels of quality of life and those utilizing maladaptive coping strategies more frequently would experience poorer quality of life. Additionally, stress, somatization, depression and anxiety were predicted to be associated with a lower quality of life. To explore these hypotheses, 440 college students completed a survey measuring demographic variables, health behaviors, interpersonal factors, intrapersonal factors, psychological factors, and the frequency with which coping strategies were used. These were all associated with the outcome variable of life satisfaction based on the Student Life Satisfaction Scale (SLSS). The collected data were first analyzed on the univariate level. Those predictors significantly associated with quality of life in the univariate comparisons were then analyzed using a multinomial logistic regression to determine which of the key variables significantly contributed to quality of life. Overall, the key factors associated with better quality of life include the following: more spirituality, better social support, and lower stress. The results from this study identify key adaptive coping behaviors associated with better quality of life. This information is invaluable for developing prevention and intervention strategies aimed at reducing maladaptive coping behaviors in order to improve quality of life.