Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Self-Efficacy, Social Support, and Coping Strategies of Adolescent Earthquake Survivors in China

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Self-Efficacy, Social Support, and Coping Strategies of Adolescent Earthquake Survivors in China

Article excerpt

In this study, the relationships among psychological health and self-efficacy, social support, and coping strategies soon after a devastating natural disaster was explored using path analysis, in order to provide guidelines for early psychological intervention. Participants comprised 172 senior middle-school students, in the stricken area of the May 2008 earthquake in Wenchuan, China, of whom 167 completed the scales. Three different models were tested consecutively and compared. According to the model that provided the best fit to the data, emotion-focused coping significantly predicted psychological problems, while subjective social support and problem-focused coping significantly predicted self-efficacy. The results showed that soon after a disaster, the most important mediating factor for people is emotional regulation.

Keywords: psychological health, self-efficacy, social support, coping strategy, earthquake survivors.

There is a general recognition that there will often be an adverse psychological consequence associated with disasters. Many researchers have sought to elucidate the connection between the period following a disaster and adverse psychological outcomes (Murphy, 1988; Shikai et al., 2007). However, there have been few studies focused on the adolescent survivors of natural disasters, especially in the early stages. Of the many factors that can mediate between stress and psychological problems, the most commonly mentioned in research are self -efficacy, social support, and coping strategies. The aim in this paper was to find out the mediating effects of these factors on the psychological health of adolescent survivors in the early stage of a natural disaster.

According to Bandura (1977), in order to carry out and maintain a particular behavior, one needs to believe that this behavior will lead to the desired outcome, and also that the behavior can be successfully executed to produce the outcome (high self-efficacy expectancy). Since its first introduction, both specific and general self-efficacy have been used and studied in many kinds of areas. For example, Murphy (1988) investigated the mediating effects of self-efficacy and social support on mental health in a longitudinal study, finding that self -efficacy was a significant predictor of health outcome. In a cross-sectional study of adolescents, Ehrenberg, Cox, and Koopman (1991) found a negative correlation between perceived self-efficacy and depression. Vieno, Santinello, Pastore, and Perkins (2007) found that self-efficacy and a sense of community in school contributed to mediating effects of social support on psychosocial adjustment. There are many other studies in which the relationship between self-efficacy and psychological problems, such as depression and anxiety, has been explored. The results were in agreement that self-efficacy served as a protective or resilient factor in the relationship between stress and psychological health.

The positive effect of social support on health was established by Durkheim (1951). It was defined as the process "through which the social relationships promote health and well-being" (Cohen et al., 2000, p. 4). This kind of effect has been supported by many researchers (Cohen & Wills, 1985; Miller & Ingram, 1979). Cohen (1988) also viewed social support as a protective factor among adolescents. However, within different cultures and circumstances, the relationship between social support and psychological well-being has become complex (Cohen et al.). In studies by Schonert-Reichl (1994) and Ayman and Antani (2008) the protective effects of social support on psychological wellbeing were found. However, Murphy (1988) found that the F value for social support was not of sufficient magnitude to appear in any of the analyses. Its effect for Chinese adolescent survivors was affirmed in this study.

In addition to self-efficacy and social support, another important factor is coping strategy (Hallis & Slone, 1999). …

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