Stress and coping in Sweden and Sri Lanka : A cross-cultural study with a cognitive neuroscientific perspective

University essay from Högskolan i Skövde/Institutionen för biovetenskap

Abstract: The stress response that is triggered in an organism when facing a stressor is crucial to maintain stability and health. However, exposure to a severe or a chronic stressor can be maladaptive and cause several impairments in the body, such as cardiovascular diseases, atrophy of the brain, and psychopathologies mainly characterized by anxiety and depression. Resilience or vulnerability to stress is mediated through different biopsychosocial factors, one of which is the use of coping strategies. Different types of coping strategies have been linked to either adaptive or maladaptive outcomes, and are an important factor to consider regarding stress resilience. Cultural differences in symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, and coping strategies were assessed through self-report measurements in the form of two questionnaires. 75 Swedes and 67 Sri Lankans between the age of 18-50 took part in the study. The most significant findings of this study suggest that 1) Sri Lankans experience more symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression compared to Swedes, 2) dysfunctional coping is correlated with higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression in both Sweden and Sri Lanka, 3) higher levels of stress predicts higher levels of anxiety and depression in both Sweden and Sri Lanka, and 4) both countries tend to favor problem-focused coping over emotion-focused and dysfunctional coping. A discussion regarding the current findings, including limitations of the study is provided, as well as directions for future research.

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