The article considers the features of coping strategies in adolescence. The article aim is to study and analyze adolescents’ coping strategies and the coping features characteristic for delinquent adolescents. To achieve this goal, the authors solved the following tasks: to analyze the peculiarities of coping behavior in adolescence and to determine its connection with behavioral disorders, to identify life situations especially difficult for adolescents, to identify leading coping strategies in adolescents and to conduct comparative analysis of coping strategies used by delinquent adolescents and adolescents with normative behavior. The authors analyzed maladaptive coping strategies: confrontation strategy, escape-avoidance strategy, distancing strategy; as well as adaptive coping strategies: positive reassessment, self-control and responsibility, social support and planning.
Overcoming difficult life situations requires mobilization of personal resources, which is manifested in coping strategies. Their features largely depend on personal characteristics, life experience and situational factors that determine the individual uniqueness of mastering strategies. Among the variety of coping strategies, there are emotional, cognitive and behavioral coping. The coping strategies that focus on problem solving, seeking social support and avoidance are basic.
The authors conducted the study with two groups of adolescents with normative and delinquent behavior and found that adolescents with normative behavior, unlike delinquents, were not prone to aggressive efforts and risks in solving difficult situations. At the same time, delinquent adolescents were characterized by maladaptive coping strategies.
Copings are aimed at adapting a person to the requirements of a situation, mitigating its requirements, avoiding or getting used to them. In general, it reduces the impact of a difficult situation, ensures and maintains an individual’s physical and mental health, well-being, and satisfaction with social relations.
The obtained results indicate that adolescents with normative behavior in difficult life situations are more active in making arbitrary, problem-focused efforts to change the situation; they make more efforts to analyze ways to solve the problem than delinquent adolescents. Adolescents with normative behavior are prone to: planning, positive reassessment, self-control, acceptance of responsibility, and also have a low level of stress in copings. Delinquents clearly have a tendency to the maladaptive “avoiding problem” strategy. They are prone to confrontation, avoidance, detonation. Delinquent adolescents experience more difficult situations. The coping system of adolescents with delinquent behavior is more intense, which indicates that they experience higher levels of stress.
In adolescence, coping behavior is actively formed and is a prerequisite for psychological well-being. It aims to improve adolescents’ adaptation and is manifested through a set of coping strategies.
The studied causes of delinquent behavior show that they are closely related to coping strategies. When delinquency is development, maladaptive behavioral patterns are formed that prevent adequate coping with stressful situations. This is confirmed by the data obtained during the study.
A comparison of coping strategies of the studied groups shows a qualitative difference in the structure of coping in difficult life situations for adolescents with normative and delinquent behavior.
The data obtained will expand the understanding of the causes underlying adolescents’ destructive behavior. The authors’ study is of practical importance, its results can be used by psychologists and social educators to identify ways to optimize mental development of all adolescents and adolescents with delinquent behavior, in particular through the purposeful formation of more effective coping strategies.
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