Coping is defined as an effort or an attempt by the individuals for overcoming stress and other unfavorable outcomes that might develop while trying to develop a solution for the problems that may be between two individuals or a group of individuals or within the individual. It is carried out by the individuals by procrastinating the methods and outcomes of their tasks and preparing themselves accordingly to reduce overall stress and tension developed in them. It is one kind of psychology that has been developed within the individual for their personal health and psychological benefits. It is very important for the individuals to execute appropriate coping at the right time and in the right way, so as to avoid the negative effects developed while solving or dealing with any problem (Fanshawe, 1991).
Coping mechanisms are the techniques and measures adopted by the individuals for handling of the outcomes in the form of physical and mental strain that would be developed while tackling a specific problem. There are many ways by which the coping process can be carried out through different mechanisms including various practices. There are two types of practices which hare generally followed in coping mechanisms and they are:
• Adaptive coping mechanism and
• Maladaptive coping mechanisms (Fanshawe, 1991).
Roles of coping mechanisms
Coping mechanism is important for handling the stress and tension that is developed during carrying activities for solving particular problem. This would provide an individual with the peace of mind and calmness that is required after performing any specific tough task. It helps the individuals to prepare themselves for the next task and develop learning from their earlier experience.
The main reason of carrying coping is development of stress. Stress refers to any kind of physical or mental strain that has been experienced by the people due to the problems faced by them. These problems may be due to financial, political, social, cultural, religious and behavioral elements that have a huge impact on the individuals.it is one kind of reaction provided by the body to different situations and it differs from one person to another. However, there are many common reasons for development of stress in adolescents at a very early age in their life.
There is development of stress due to the elements which are not favorable to one’s health and mental state and these elements are called as stressors. The development of stress due to stressors involves many factors like the environmental condition, physical factor, chemical factor and any other actions occurring naturally or carried by any person or a group of people (Fanshawe, 1991).
Stressors differences between boys and girls
There are many different attributes and behaviors observed in boys and girls of the adolescent age.
Stressors for Boys:
In the adolescent age, boys develop stress due to the following reasons:
• Lack of sincerity,
• Sports activities and aspirations,
• Big dreams and less efforts,
• Problems with other people and students in the school
• Increasing desire of attaining adulthood.
• Unhealthy eating and drinking habits
• Excessive spending leading to developing of financial pressure.
Stressors for Girls:
Among the adolescent girls, stressors which are developed are as follows:
• Body image conceptualization from the media
• Obsession with personal appearance,
• Very sensitive and emotional nature,
• Body dissatisfaction and depression
• Excessive involvement in relationships
• Increasing dissatisfaction of their belongings.
Maladaptive coping mechanisms
Maladaptive coping mechanisms are the techniques and methods which would have negative effects and consequences on the person adopting it. However, these effects, would sometimes, considered as positive for reducing the stress. But, this would be only for a short span of time. This is because, these kind of coping mechanisms would provide immediate relief and reduction in stress, but it would have huge negative effects on long term basis. Thus, it is very important to identify the characteristics of the coping mechanisms, before practicing any one of them. These practices are mostly adopted to overcome the anxiety that has been developed among the individuals. There are various ways through which maladaptive coping mechanisms. We have discussed the most commonly used method of coping mechanism that is using drugs.
Consumption of drugs, tobacco and alcohol:
It is one of the most commonly practiced technique of coping mechanism. Individuals, when get stressed or feel unhappy and helpless, try to get some relief and pleasure through consumption of drugs, tobacco products, cigarettes and alcohol in different quantities. They do get temporary relief from drugs and alcohol as they manipulate the senses of an individual. However, this relief and pleasure is just momentary and it has many harmful side effects observed for a long time. This includes development of intolerant nature, crime activities for getting the costly drugs, increasing frustration among the adolescents and excessive violent attitude among them (Newcomb, Maddahian, & Bentler, 1986).
Common drugs used
There are different kinds of drugs used across the world. However, the most common ones are the
Illegal or Illicit drugs:
These are the drugs which are not permitted by the law. The examples of these drugs are:
Licit or legal drugs:
These are the drugs which are permitted by the law. But, the law does not promote its excessive usage and usage for wrong reasons. The examples of these drugs are:
• Nail paint and remover
• Cough syrups
• Gasoline substances like petrol, oil, diesel and kerosene
Specific painkillers and other addictive medicines (AUSTRALIAN DRUG FOUNDATION (adf), 2015).
Difference between adaptive and maladaptive coping mechanisms
There is a very thin line difference between the methods of practicing adaptive and maladaptive coping mechanisms. These differences are mentioned below:
• A maladaptive coping mechanism technique would provide only temporary solution and relaxation, whereas adaptive coping mechanism would provide slow, but long term relaxation and relief.
• There would be no psychological and physical disorders observed on practicing adaptive coping mechanisms. On the other side, practicing maladaptive coping mechanisms generates huge number of disorders and health related problems among the individuals.
• Practicing maladaptive coping mechanisms is more difficult as compared to the adaptive coping mechanisms. But, its consequences are very adverse too (AUSTRALIAN DRUG FOUNDATION (adf), 2015).
AUSTRALIAN DRUG FOUNDATION (adf). (2015, April). Drugs – teenagers. Retrieved from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/drugs-teenagers
Fanshawe, J. P. (1991). Assessing school‐related stressors and coping mechanisms in adolescents. . British Journal of Educational Psychology, 61(1), , 92-98.
Newcomb, M. D., Maddahian, E., & Bentler, P. M. (1986). Risk factors for drug use among adolescents: concurrent and longitudinal analyses. . American Journal of Public Health, 76(5),, 525-531.