2007 Stress & Coping In Japanese Children & Adolescents


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Jose, P. E., & Kilburg, D. F. III. (2007). Stress and coping in Japanese children and adolescents. Anxiety, Stress, and Coping: An International Journal, 20, 283-298.

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2007 Stress & Coping In Japanese Children & Adolescents

  1. 1. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping, September 2007; 20(3): 283 Á298 Stress and coping in Japanese children and adolescents P. E. JOSE1, & D. F. KILBURG III2 1 Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand & 2Eastern Washington University, Cheney, Washington, USA Abstract Japanese children and adolescents (n 0580) provided self-reports of stressor intensity, coping efforts, and adjustment. A new measure of Japanese adolescent coping was created, and psychometric analyses confirmed a reliable four-factor structure. Mean group difference analyses showed that girls reported higher levels of self-image and peer relations stress, and reported using isolation and problem-solving coping more and externalising coping less than males. Younger adolescents (5th/8th grades) reported higher stress in the domains of school, peer relations, and family relations, whereas older adolescents (10th grade) reported higher self-image problems. Statistical moderation was used to examine how youth negotiated the stress process. Females were found to be more responsive to appearance, family, and peer difficulties. Affiliation coping by females operated as a buffer between appearance anxiety and dissatisfaction with appearance. Externalizing coping was not associated with peer relations satisfaction for males, but it was negatively associated for females. Keywords: Japanese, children, adolescents, stress, coping, moderation The body of literature on how children and adolescents cope with stress has greatly increased in size and sophistication over the last 10 to 15 years. However, most of the extant research has examined European-American samples, and calls have been made to examine other cultural groups and ethnicities (Markus & Kitayama, 1991). The chief impetus to examining individuals from different cultural groups is that we may find that they differ with regard to how they appraise stress, choose particular coping strategies, and experience adjustment and well-being. A unique population that has received little attention to date is Japanese children and adolescents. A remarkable characteristic of this group is that for much of this country’s history they have lived in isolation from other peoples and cultures. As a result, the Japanese are one of the most genealogically distinct and culturally homogenous populations in the world. The present Japanese culture is a compelling contradiction to Western eyes in that they value and uphold traditional cultural values and behaviors at the same time that they have embraced many Western approaches such as capitalism and industrialization. Economic development in Japan has seemingly taken place without compromising much of the country’s original traditions and values (Beasley, 2000; Hendry, 2003; McCargo, 2004). Western psychologists are therefore becoming increasingly interested in under- standing patterns of Japanese emotional adaptation that presumably results from Japan’s Correspondence: Paul E. Jose, School of Psychology, P.O. Box 600, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand. E-mail: paul.jose@vuw.ac.nz ISSN 1061-5806 print/ISSN 1477-2205 online # 2007 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080/10615800701272519
  2. 2. 284 P. E. Jose & D. F. Kilburg III unique cultural and historical path. The present study reports data obtained from Japanese children and adolescents concerning their experiences of stress, choice of coping strategies, and resulting well-being in order to identify how these individuals cope with stress. Conceptualization of the Stress Negotiation Model Much research on stress and coping, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s, has been piecemeal in the sense that researchers assessed one area, or at best two areas, among the following: stress, coping, and adjustment. Increasingly researchers have recognized that these three domains need to be conceptually and empirically linked (see Cohen & Wills, 1985). The most influential theory about the nature of coping from a Western perspective is Folkman and Lazarus’s conceptualization of coping as a mediator between stress and adjustment (see Folkman & Lazarus, 1988; Lazarus, 1991; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). The basic relationship is the stress to adjustment relationship, and it is presumed to be negative in valence. In other words, in the absence of any coping, a person who experienced high levels of stress would also report poorer adjustment. However, as noted above, if a person noticed a threat to his or her well-being (i.e., primary appraisal), then he or she would likely engage in coping of some sort in an effort to re-establish a more positive equilibrium. The enactment of coping, in turn, would be expected to have a beneficial effect on a person’s psychological outcome if the coping effort had an adaptive effect. Jose (2005) notes that social support has this type of positive mediational effect, but a maladaptive type of coping, such as rumination, has a negative mediational effect. The mediational model is attractive for its simplicity in explaining how individuals negotiate the stress process (Jose, 2005), but criticisms have been raised by Holmbeck (1997) and others about whether stress should be examined principally or exclusively as a mediational process. Holmbeck notes that mediation should be employed with longitudinal data, but that moderation is more appropriate with cross-sectional data. The advantage of the moderational approach was enunciated initially by Cohen and Wills (1985), and their view was that coping strategies *in their case, social support *should be viewed as moderators of the basic relationship between stress and outcome. In moderation, one determines whether the basic relationship is affected by a third variable (specifically an interaction term composed between the independent variable and the moderator). In essence, the association of stress on the outcome depends upon different levels of the moderating variable, for example, the strength of the stress to outcome relationship can be attenuated under conditions of high social support. A significant moderational effect, when obtained, should be probed (see Aiken & West, 1991; Jose, 2003) to determine under which conditions the coping strategy buffers (i.e., attenuates) or exacerbates (i.e., increases) the relationship between stress and coping. Since we obtained a cross-sectional dataset in the present study, we examined whether the identified coping strategies moderated the basic relationship of stress with adjustment. Research on Japanese children’s stress, coping, and adjustment One of the earliest studies on Japanese youth, by Yamamoto and Davis (1979), focused on children’s experiences of stress. They studied the stressful experiences of over 600 Japanese and American children from grades 4 through 6. In both samples, children in higher grades reported significantly more stress, however, significant sex differences were only detected for the Japanese children (boys greater than girls). The authors concluded that the
  3. 3. Stress and coping 285 similarities in stress experiences between the two cultures were considerable, and speculated that school children in metropolitan areas in industrialized nations may have much in common, despite living in distinct cultural contexts. A subsequent study by Nagane 12 years later (1991) obtained a divergent finding with regard to gender. Nagane developed an everyday life event stress scale focused on school events for Japanese elementary school students of 4th Á6th grades. Factor analysis revealed four domains: peer relations, class presentations, school achievement, and school failure. Significant differences were found between sexes, but not across grades. Girls reported more stress in school achievement than boys. The first study to involve two components of the stress process among Japanese youth was performed by Okayasu, Shimada, Niwa, Mori, and Yatomi (1992). They developed an everyday life event stress scale focused on school issues for Japanese junior high students in order to measure stressors and responses to six school domains. Stress tended to increase generally across age, especially for study-related items. Girls reported more stress for study- related and teacher-related items. These findings would appear to corroborate other findings that girls are under at least as much educational stress as boys in Japan. The next step in the evolution of this field was to tie together all three components of the process: stress, coping, and adjustment. Ohsako (1994) studied coping effectiveness in Japanese high school students (only 10th grade) using a translated version of the Ways of Coping Checklist (Folkman & Lazarus, 1980) and an original Japanese state-trait anxiety inventory. This study appears to be the first attempt at linking Japanese children’s coping research to the American coping literature, and it is notable because stress appraisal, coping, and an outcome (i.e., anxiety) were examined together. However, no attempts were made to analyze gender or age differences. Participants were asked to appraise the stressfulness of each of five domains of life (‘‘schoolwork,’’ ‘‘friends/sweet-hearts,’’ ‘‘teachers/school environment,’’ ‘‘personality/body,’’ and ‘‘home’’), how much they generally used particular coping strategies within these five domains, and reported levels on the outcome of anxiety. Stress appraisal and the outcome tended to be positively correlated, as expected. In addition, coping tended to vary depending upon context. As important as these findings are, several shortcomings must be noted. First, the author did not seek to identify gender differences; second, no age differences could be determined because of the narrow age range for the participants; and third, no effort was made to examine these three components in an integrated manner. A study by Kilburg (1997) attempted to address several of these problems. Kilburg investigated Japanese elementary school children’s experiences of stress in four contexts (education, health/fitness, family/home life, and peer relations) as a function of sex and age. Older children reported significantly more education-related stress than younger children, similar to Yamamoto and Davis (1979). In addition, girls reported significantly greater stress intensity for the contexts of health/fitness and peer relations, but no differences were noted for education and family/home. No significant age differences were detected by Kilburg for emotion-focused coping. However, increases in problem-focused coping were found across age. Girls were found to report significantly greater use of problem-focused coping than boys. Although Kilburg’s study examined stress and coping in some detail, no outcome measure was obtained, so he was not able to determine whether particular coping approaches could be characterized as adaptive or maladaptive. In summarizing the literature on Japanese children’s stress, coping, and adjustment (Kilburg, 1997; Nagane, 1991; Ohsako, 1994; Okayasu et al., 1992; Yamamoto & Davis, 1979), several patterns have emerged, but many questions remain. It seems that Japanese
  4. 4. 286 P. E. Jose & D. F. Kilburg III children face an increasing amount of stress as they age, particularly education-related stress. A reliable sex difference regarding education-related stress has not been found; however, there is indication that girls experience more stress than boys when it comes to their bodies and their peers. A variety of coping strategies have been identified as being used by Japanese children, but we know little about the adaptiveness of these various coping strategies because research to date has not used an integrated model of stress, coping, and adjustment. The present study had two main goals. First, we attempted to construct a reliable and culturally relevant measure of coping for Japanese youth, because one is lacking. Second, we examined mean group differences and associations in the stress negotiation process. We expected to find that older Japanese adolescents would report greater educational stress, and girls would report higher stress in relation to their appearance and peer relations. We expected that certain subfactors of the new coping scale (i.e., affiliation and problem- solving) would function as buffers and others (i.e., isolation and externalizing) would function as exacerbators of the links between stress and adjustment. Method Participants Participants were all native Japanese children and adolescents who had never lived outside of Japan. They were sampled from four separate schools near Tsu City in Mie prefecture, which is a suburb of Nagoya, Japan. All four schools can be classified as being primarily middle-class in terms of both income and education level. Parents were notified by newsletter and individual letter that the research project would occur and were asked to notify the school if they did not want their child to participate. Only 12 did so. On the day of testing, out of 805 child questionnaires distributed, 597 were returned, giving a 74% assent rate. After excluding individuals for missing data (i.e., more than 5% missing data), we obtained a final sample of 580 individuals. Mean item substitution was performed on the remaining surveys. Respondents attended either 5th, 8th, or 10th grade, but inadequate numbers of children were obtained in the lowest two age groupings, so these two groups were combined to form a single 5th/8th grade group. (Preliminary analyses showed that these two age groups also manifested similar patterns in the data.) The numbers of individuals in these two age groupings broken down by gender were: younger females (n 0 154); younger males (n 0140); older females (n 0180); and older males (n 0106). Materials The second author became a speaker of the Japanese language and lived in Japan for lengthy periods of time before the inception of this study. In order to develop materials that reflected native Japanese views and cultural values, he spoke at length with lay people, educators, and psychologists in Japan, and discussed with them his previous attempts at examining Japanese coping (Kilburg, 1997). The items used in the study, then, were generated after considerable consultation with these key informants and reflect Japanese customs and Japanese language usage. Each child received a booklet containing three groups of items that were designed to assess stress, coping, and adjustment. The groups were independently translated into the Japanese language by two Japanese-American females. The groups were subsequently exchanged, back-translated, checked, and modified as necessary to ensure meaning was consistent between the English and Japanese versions. A third bilingual was enlisted
  5. 5. Stress and coping 287 independent of the original two (a middle-aged, male, Japanese professor, born and raised in Japan) to ensure that the Japanese items were natural and fluid to the reader. Stress. The Japanese version of the Everyday Life Events Scale for Children (J-ELESC) was derived from the ELESC cited in Jose, Cafasso, and D’Anna (1994) and subsequently modified by Kilburg (1997). In order to increase cultural relevance, additional items were added to the original measure. Examples are: ‘‘you had after-school lessons or practice (e.g., juku, piano, English, etc.),’’ ‘‘you disagreed with most of the people in a group but did what they wanted anyway,’’ and ‘‘you did not want to follow your school’s dress code.’’ The participants received a list of 43 items, and they were asked to make three decisions in sequence to reflect the appraisal process described by Lazarus (1991). First, they were asked ‘‘has this happened to you in the last month?’’. If they marked ‘‘yes,’’ then they were asked to decide ‘‘was this a problem?’’ If it was judged to be a problem, then the respondent rated the intensity of stressfulness on a three-point scale (10a little; 2 0some; and 30a lot). (Because causality is less linear in the Japanese language than in English, the Japanese version of this question actually reads more like ‘‘if it was a problem, how much stress was involved?’’.) According to Jose et al. (1998), the stressor intensity scores (i.e., the three- point ratings) are the best indicator of overall stress level, so these scores were used in the present study. In the present study, we wished to emphasize the impact of particular clusters of stressful events so we investigated whether certain groupings of stressor items yielded significant internal reliability (this is a similar method to that used by Jose et al., 1998). Based on previous work in Japan cited above (Kilburg, 1997; Nagane, 1991; Ohsako, 1994), four clusters were identified: family discord; peer difficulties; appearance anxiety; and school difficulties (see Table I). All yielded adequate internal reliability, and intercorrelations showed that no pairing was highly correlated. Coping. No pre-existing Japanese children’s coping scale was identified in the literature so we attempted to create one, guided by existing American scales and the previous work of Table I. Stressor clusters. Family discord (a 0.72) 1. You and a sibling disagreed. 2. You were disciplined by a parent. 3. A family member was very angry. 4. Mom and dad disagreed in front of you. 5. Parents talked about problems or worries. 6. You disagreed with your mom or dad. 7. A family member was drunk. School difficulties (a0.60) 1. I thought about schoolwork. 2. I had after-school lessons or practice. 3. I got a low grade. 4. I didn’t want to follow school dress code. Peer difficulties (a0.71) 1. You couldn’t talk about your feelings with others. 2. Kids teased or avoided you. 3. You were nice to someone you didn’t like. 4. You thought about your classmates’ opinions of you. 5. You went along with a group decision despite disagreement. Appearance anxiety (a0.70) 1. You thought about the way you look. 2. You thought about your weight.
  6. 6. 288 P. E. Jose & D. F. Kilburg III Kilburg that was based on Japanese data. The Jose et al. (1994, 1998) and Kilburg (1997) coping measures contained between 22 and 32 items each, but were deemed to be too culture-bound and/or restrictive for present purposes. In order to allow a more culturally sensitive measure to be derived, we compiled a list of 65 items with the assistance of our cultural informants, covering a wide range of possible coping strategies deemed appropriate for Japanese youth. We presented the entire list of items to all participants with the goal of empirically deriving a reliable and valid measure of Japanese youth coping. After the individuals had completed the stress measure, they were asked to ‘‘indicate for each item, how much have you used that approach in relation to the problems identified above.’’ Participants made use of a five-point scale to convey how much they engaged in the given coping strategy: ‘‘None at all’’ (0), ‘‘A little’’ (1), ‘‘A moderate amount’’ (2), ‘‘Much’’ (3), and ‘‘Very much’’ (4). After psychometric work (described in the Results section), the resulting measure was called the Japanese Children’s Inventory of Coping (JCIC). Adjustment. As a measure of adjustment, school performance, and person relationship items were created to form a nine-item questionnaire entitled ‘‘School Performance and Well- Being.’’ A school performance cluster was composed of three items (How good is your attendance record for school? How good is your behavior record at school? How satisfied are you with your school marks/grades?) that was expected to be related to the stressor cluster termed ‘‘school difficulties.’’ Three satisfaction items that assessed family harmony (How satisfied are you with how you get along with your sisters and brothers? Your mother? Your father?) were expected to be associated with the stressor cluster named ‘‘family discord.’’ One item assessing peer relations (How satisfied are you with how you get along with other kids your age?) was expected to be associated with ‘‘peer difficulties,’’ and one item termed appearance satisfaction (How satisfied are you about how you look?) was expected to be associated with ‘‘appearance anxiety.’’ Procedure Participants were asked to complete questionnaire packets during their regular class time, scheduled at the convenience of the schools involved. Several Japanese undergraduate assistants supervised in conjunction with the teachers of the respective classrooms. (Neither American co-author was present.) They announced that they were conducting a research project on the problems that children have and how they learn to solve them. They explained that problems can be mental, emotional, or physical. They explained that ‘‘everyone has some problems’’ and ‘‘everyone has to learn how to have a healthy life.’’ The children were reassured that no one would be able to connect their name with their answers because the questionnaires would be anonymous. In order that the children would complete the questionnaires carefully and within a reasonable time frame, research assistants were asked to read each item aloud. The children were instructed to listen carefully, in silence. A short and regular pause allowed them to answer each question in a paced fashion. In this way, all the children finished at about the same time. If the children had any questions, they were encouraged to ask. Results The results section includes: (1) psychometric information about the delineation of the new measure of Japanese adolescent coping; (2) mean group difference comparisons for gender
  7. 7. Stress and coping 289 and age in this sample; and (3) moderation analyses to determine whether gender and age affected the stressor to outcome relationship. Psychometric characteristics of the coping measure The coping scale was composed of a diverse group of items that were expected to group together to form subscales. In order to determine the best measurement model for this scale, the total sample of participants was first randomly divided into two equal groups: the exploratory and confirmatory samples. The 65-item coping scale was then subjected to an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) using principal components with varimax rotation on the exploratory sample. The results of the scree plot suggested that between three and five factors would be optimal. Thus, three EFAs were computed, one each for three, four, and five factors. The five-factor model was examined first. The first four factors all resulted in acceptable Cronbach’s as (.70), but the fifth factor yielded a 0.62. This solution was rejected. The four-factor model was examined next. Fifty-seven percent of the item variance was explained by this four-factor solution. An evaluation of internal reliability showed that all obtained factors yielded Cronbach’s a.70. Intercorrelation among the factors ranged between null to moderate (.50), which suggested that no two factors should be collapsed into a single factor. To examine this model further, a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was computed on the exploratory data using LISREL 8.71 (Joreskog Sorbom, 2004). Using the factor loadings from the EFA (we specified l as 1 for loadings .40 and 0 for loadings B.40), a four-factor measurement model was tested. The initial run yielded model fit indices that were somewhat below what is considered acceptable. The x2/df ratio was 3.58, the root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) was .074, the critical N was 176.7, the root mean square residual (sRMR) was .096, and the goodness of fit index (GFI) was .82. Model pruning was employed next to determine whether an acceptable fit could be obtained for the four-factor model. Items with l loadings less than .60 were deleted, and the subsequent CFA resulted in acceptable model fit indices: the x2/df ratio was 3.01, the RMSEA was .059, the critical N was 223, the sRMR was .073, and the GFI was .91. Computing an EFA and a CFA on a single sample results in findings that should only be considered tentative and exploratory, so the four-factor model was replicated with the hold- out confirmatory sample. The model fit indices were found to be better than those obtained earlier: ratio 02.60; RMSEA 0.053; critical N 0284; sRMR 0.053; and GFI0.93. The resulting scale is listed in Table II along with the factor loadings obtained from an EFA performed on the entire sample. We named the four factors externalization, problem- solving, affiliation, and isolation. The three-factor solution was examined in similar fashion, and although model fit indices were slightly better than those obtained for the four-factor model, the decision was made to use the four-factor solution because the three-factor model excluded the affiliation factor. Given that the internal reliability was good for this potential fourth factor, and that the overall measurement model fell within the acceptable range, it was decided to utilize the four-factor model. Mean group differences for gender and age A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was computed using gender and age as the two independent variables on the four stressor clusters, and significant multivariate effects were obtained for both main effects and the interaction, Fs(4, 573) 04.19 to 29.01,
  8. 8. 290 P. E. Jose D. F. Kilburg III Table II. Factor loadings for the items of the Japanese Children’s Inventory of Coping. Item 1 2 3 4 Problem-Solving Factor (a0.86) 11. I thought about all the things I could possibly do to fix the problem. .80 Á.01 .10 .06 15. I told myself to divide the problem and take it ‘‘one step at a time’’. .77 .06 .03 .16 34. I tried to think what would work best to fix the problem. .76 (.01 .17 .16 14. I tried to get more information about the problem. .73 .09 .05 .17 2. I thought about why the problem happened. .73 .10 .06 .10 26. I told myself to keep trying as hard as I could. .70 (.03 .06 .24 Externalizing Factor (a0.81) 27. I tried to directly hurt or do harm to someone’s body or someone’s stuff *to help fix .02 .81 .02 .01 the problem. 19. I tried to directly hurt or do harm to someone’s body or someone’s stuff *so I .05 .80 .00 (.12 would feel better. 37. I tried to hurt or do harm to someone’s feelings-without that person knowing I did .00 .73 .17 .12 it *so I would feel better. 36. I said mean things directly to someone’s face *to help fix the problem. .02 .71 .19 .17 38. I told someone that the problem was his or her fault and/or told someone to say .07 .66 .16 .15 sorry *so I would feel better. Isolation Factor (a0.75) 64.I went off by myself to get away from other people Á so I would feel better. .04 .09 .83 .03 60. I went off by myself to get away from other people Á to help fix the problem. .09 .02 .82 .05 64. I cried (but no one saw me do thing) Á so I would feel better. .21 .11 .66 .04 61. I pretended there was not a problem Á so I would feel better. .05 .15 .57 .24 Affiliation Factor (a 0.76) 29. I went to be with someone * so I would feel better. .14 .06 .15 .79 23. I went to be with someone *to help fix the problem. .16 .10 .05 .79 39. I told someone the problem was my fault and/or I said I was sorry *to help fix the .38 .02 .10 .57 problem. 20. I tried to be cheerful or happy in front of someone or do nice things for someone * .39 .03 .15 .56 so I would feel better. 18. I talked to someone in order to feel better. .10 .31 .19 .55 Note. Values in bold are the factor loadings of the items chosen for specific factors. p s B.001, h2s 0.03 to .17 (means and standard deviations for all variables are presented in Table III). Univariate results showed two significant results for gender (self-image: F(1, 576) 097.58, p B.001, h2 0.15; and peer difficulties: F(1, 576) 017.29, p B.001, h2 0 .03), four significant effects for age (F s(1, 576) 04.46 to 11.96, p s B.05 to .001, h2s 0.01 to .02), and one significant interaction (self-image: F (1, 576) 010.92, p B.001, h2 0.02). The gender differences were due to females reporting higher self-image and peer difficulties than males. Younger adolescents reported higher difficulties with school, peers, and family than older adolescents; however, older adolescents reported more self-image problems than younger adolescents. The gender)age interaction for self-image showed that boys reported equal levels of self-image problems across age, but girls increased steeply over age. A MANOVA was similarly computed for the four coping strategies as the dependent variables. A multivariate main effect was obtained for gender, F(4, 528) 08.29, p B.001, partial h2 0.06, and for age, F(4, 528) 02.09, p B.05, partial h2 0.02. Univariate results obtained for gender were: externalizing, problem-solving, and isolation, Fs(1, 531) 03.23 to 8.88, p s B.01 to .001, partial h2s 0.02. Males reported higher aggression, but females reported higher problem-solving and isolation. The only univariate result obtained for age
  9. 9. Table III. Correlations among all variables and means and standard deviations for the variables. 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 M SD 1. Family discord .49 .48 .22 .15 .22 .20 .18 (.37 (.14 (.18 (.06 .654 .54 2. School difficulties .51 .33 .17 .28 .27 .25 (.13 (.23 (.09 (.06 .950 .69 3. Peer difficulties .42 .17 .25 .35 .27 (.21 (.22 (.33 (.19 .845 .71 4. Appearance anxiety .11 .13 .27 .14 (.06 (.14 (.11 (.41 1.10 .98 5. Problem Ásolving .12 .26 .52 .08 .03 (.01 (.01 1.26 .98 6. Externalizing .32 .28 (.10 (.09 (.07 (.04 .423 .70 7. Isolation .37 (.05 (.11 (.11 (.16 .753 .82 8. Affiliation (.01 (.02 (.09 .04 .642 .71 9. Family harmony .22 .25 .17 2.40 .82 10. School performance .14 .25 1.71 .87 11. Peer relations .19 2.60 .93 12. Appearance satisfaction 1.68 .91 Stress and coping 291
  10. 10. 292 P. E. Jose D. F. Kilburg III was isolation, F (1, 531) 04.38, p B.05, partial h2 0.01. Older participants reported higher isolation. And finally, we examined the four outcome clusters in a MANOVA. Significant multivariate results were obtained for both age and gender: Fs(4, 544) 07.87 to 13.76, p s B.001, partial h2s 0.06 to .09. Univariate results obtained for gender were: family harmony and appearance, Fs(1, 547) 09.17 to 35.71, p s B.01 to .001, partial h2s0.02 to .06. Males reported higher satisfaction with appearance, but females reported higher family harmony. The two univariate results obtained for age were appearance and school, F s(1, 547) 016.29 to 19.15, p s B.001, partial h2s 0.03: older participants reported lower satisfaction with both. Moderation of stressor clusters to outcomes by coping strategies We intended to investigate moderation with hierarchical multiple regressions (see Aiken West, 1991; Cohen Cohen, 1983), one for each of the four stressor Áoutcome relationships, but we first had to determine whether the specific stressor clusters were significantly associated with the predicted outcome variables. We correlated all stressor clusters with all outcomes, and as expected, the four predicted relationships were the strongest among the sixteen possible (ranging from (.23 to (.41, p s B.001; see Table III for all correlations; correlations between .09 and .11, p B.05; between .12 and .14, p B.01; and greater than .15, p B.001). Since these results supported our proposed analytic plan, rather than analyze moderation for all possible relationships, we focused on these four strongest (and most meaningful) relationships. Predictors were entered in discrete steps. First, for a particular outcome (e.g., family harmony), the particular relevant index of stress (e.g., family discord) was entered. Second, dummy-coded variables representing the age of the adolescents (0 05th and 8th graders; and 1 010th graders) and gender (0 0males; 1 0 females) were entered. Third, the four coping strategies were entered. Fourth, the two-way interactions were entered, and fifth, the three-way interactions were entered. Following the suggestion of Aiken and West (1991), the independent and moderating variables were centered before the product terms were generated to avoid multicollinearity. Significant results were probed with ModGraph (Jose, 2003). Family harmony predicted by family discord. As expected, the regression on the first step showed that family discord stress significantly predicted the dependent variable of family harmony, b 0(.37, p B.001, R2 0.13. On the second step, it was noted that gender, b 0 .15, p B.001, and problem-solving, b0.12, p B.001, contributed 3.8% new variance. Girls and youth who used problem-solving coping reported higher levels of family harmony. Two two-way interactions were identified: family discord )gender, p B.05, and isolation ) gender, p B.05, total R2 change 0.05. Figure 1 displays the results from the first interaction, and it shows that females showed a stronger relationship between family stress and family harmony, i.e., girls seemed more attuned to the impact of stress on family dynamics than boys. The second interaction revealed that girls showed a significant relationship between isolation and family harmony, namely that they were more isolated in situations of family conflict and more involved in situations of family harmony, whereas boys showed no relationship between these variables. Peer relations predicted by peer problems. The first step of the regression confirmed that peer problems significantly predicted good peer relations, b 0(.35, p B.001, R2 0.13. On the second step, no main effects contributed new variance. Four two-way interactions were
  11. 11. Stress and coping 293 2.9 2.8 2.7 Family Harmony 2.6 Gender 2.5 Females 2.4 Males 2.3 2.2 2.1 2 low med high Family Discord Figure 1. The moderation of family discord stress on family harmony by gender. identified: peer problems )gender, p B.05, peer problems )isolation, p B.05, affiliation ) age, p B.05, and externalizing )gender, p B.05, total R2 change 0.04. The first interaction was probed and it yielded results similar to the pattern in Figure 1, namely that females showed a stronger relationship between peer problems and peer relations. The second interaction revealed that youth who employed more isolation under conditions of high peer problems reported better peer relations, and this result suggests that isolation may buffer peer problems under conditions of high peer conflict. The third interaction showed that higher affiliation was associated with better peer relations for older youth than younger youth. The fourth interaction (see Figure 2) shows that levels of externalizing for males was unrelated to peer relations, but it was related to peer relations for females. Girls who reported higher levels of externalizing also reported lower quality peer relationships. School performance predicted by school difficulties. The cluster of school stressors significantly predicted levels of school performance, b0(.23, p B.001, R2 0.05, and age was a main effect predictor too, b 0(.20, p B.001, R2 0.04. Younger children reported higher levels of school performance than older youth. Two two-way interactions were identified: school difficulties )age, p B.05, and age )isolation, p B.05, total R2 change 0.05. The first interaction showed that the relationship between school difficulties and school performance was stronger for younger than older participants. The age ) isolation interaction revealed that isolation was a maladaptive coping approach for younger youth (i.e., associated with lower school performance), whereas isolation was not associated with this outcome for older youth. 2.8 Good peer relations 2.7 2.6 Gender Females Males 2.5 2.4 2.3 low med high Externalizing coping Figure 2. The moderation of externalising coping on good peer relations by gender.
  12. 12. 294 P. E. Jose D. F. Kilburg III Satisfaction with appearance predicted by appearance anxiety. As expected, the first step of the regression showed that self-image problems significantly predicted satisfaction with appearance, b 0(.39, p B.001, R2 0.15. On the second step, four main effects contributed new variance: gender, b 0(.11, p B.05; age, b 0(.10, p B.05; affiliation, b 0.12, p B.05; and isolation, b0(.09, p B.05, total R2 change 0.03. These results indicate that female participants, older youth, and those who used isolation coping reported lower appearance satisfaction, whereas those who used affiliation coping reported higher satisfaction. A three-way interaction was obtained: self-image problems )gender )affilia- tion, p B.05, R2 change 0.02. Probing this interaction revealed that males did not show any interaction between self-image problems and affiliation, but that females did, p B.05. The females’ interaction was graphed and it is presented as Figure 3. The figure shows that affiliation buffered the relationship between self-image problems and appearance satisfac- tion, namely, under conditions of high self-image problems, those girls who used affiliation coping also reported the highest appearance satisfaction. 2.20 Satisfaction with Appearance 2.10 2.00 1.90 Affiliation 1.80 high 1.70 med low 1.60 1.50 1.40 1.30 low med high Self-image problems Figure 3. The moderation of self-image problems on satisfaction with appearance by affiliation for girls. Discussion Very little literature on Japanese youth exists in English-language journals. Most studies in Western journals are concerned with Japanese youth’s acculturation to Western society (e.g., Miyamoto Kuhlman, 2001; Yeh et al., 2003). A Japanese-language literature on youth’s experiences with stress in Japan exists (e.g., Nagane, 1991; Shimada, Miura, Sakano, Agari, 1996; Togasaki, Okayasu, Sakano, 1997), but it is difficult to access, its findings are not generally known or cited in the Western literature, and these studies tend not to use the stress and coping model popularized by Folkman and Lazarus. The present study represents an attempt to form a rapprochement between Japanese and Western views of adolescent stress and coping. A new measure of Japanese coping was created using concepts and cultural views of Japanese researchers and lay people, and this measure was used in an effort to determine whether predictable mean group differences and covariation could be obtained in a large sample of Japanese youth. The present study was not cross-cultural in the sense of comparing these Japanese youth’s responses with those from another culture or country, so we examined differences by gender and age to glean useful information about how teenagers and youth in Japan negotiate the stress process. The mean group difference analyses revealed several findings that we should compare with findings from previous studies involving Japanese and/or Western youth. Girls in this study reported higher stress than boys, specifically for self-image and peer
  13. 13. Stress and coping 295 difficulties. Yamamoto and Davis (1979), in contrast, found boys reporting greater stress, but their data were collected more than 20 years ago. Nagane’s (1991) study of Japanese youth and many studies of Western youth (e.g., Ge, Lorenz, Conger, Elder, Simons, 1994; Jose Ratcliffe, 2004) have found that girls report high stress levels. Boys in the current study reported higher use of aggression. In support, Western studies generally concur that boys use more externalizing and aggressive responses (e.g., Jose et al., 1994; Tremblay, 2000). Girls in the current study reported greater use of isolation and problem- solving coping. A meta-analysis by Tamres, Janicki, and Helgeson (2002) on gender differences in coping behaviour in Western studies suggests that both problem-solving and isolation are used more by females than males in Western samples. Crystal and his colleagues (1994) conducted a cross-cultural comparison of American, Chinese, and Japanese 11th grade students on measures of stress and aggression, and they found a gender difference for aggression (males females) but not for stress among Japanese youth. Thus, the current results confirm one of these two findings. The age results present an interesting picture. Younger Japanese youth in the current study reported more stress in three domains (school, peers, and family), whereas older youth reported more stress with regard to self-image. The finding for school stress seems to disagree with previous Japanese research (i.e., Yamamoto Davis, 1979), but an examination of the age of research participants may offer an explanation. Yamamoto and Davis studied 4th (6th grade children, but the present study included older individuals. Still, these results were unexpected in that cross-sectional and longitudinal studies in the West show that youth report that their levels of stress and maladjustment tend to go up with age (Ge et al., 1994). Isolation, as a coping technique, is more typical of older adolescents in the West (Bowker, Bukowski, Hymel, Sippola, 2000), and that result was obtained here. Older youth here were found to be dissatisfied with school and appearance, which is congruent with the results of Kilburg (1997) and Ge et al. (1994). The moderational analyses conducted here were performed to determine how these various constructs covaried with each other for the sample as a whole or by gender and age. The first finding of note is that stress was significantly and negatively associated with adjustment for each of the four targeted relationships (bs 0(.23 to (.39) One of the most robust findings in the stress and coping literature is this association (Cohen, 1988). This association tells us that adolescents who reported higher stress also reported lower adjustment or satisfaction. Previous studies in Japan have shown a significant relationship between stress and adjustment (Ohsako, 1994; Okayasu et al., 1992), confirming that this basic relationship seems to generalize robustly to different groups of Japanese youth. The moderational analysis results for each of the four stress-outcome relationships will be described in turn. As expected, perception of family discord negatively predicted family harmony, but there were several gender-related findings of note. Females reported a stronger relationship between family discord and family harmony, suggesting that they were more attentive or affected by emotional currents in the family system. Research in the West has suggested that girls and women are more sensitive to family stressors (Werner Silbereisen, 2003), and the same phenomenon seems to be evident here. Further, girls seemed to exhibit more isolation in situations of family discord and to be more involved in situations of family harmony, indicative of an attunement lacking in boys. The same attunement was evident in the results for peer relations: girls reported a stronger relationship between peer difficulties and peer relations, congruent with Rose and Rudolph’s (2006) observations about gender-typed peer relations in Western countries. For both family and peer difficulties, Japanese youth who employed isolation reported generally
  14. 14. 296 P. E. Jose D. F. Kilburg III higher satisfaction. Although isolation was negatively associated with all four outcomes in this study, the moderational results suggest that isolation in situations of high stress might be adaptive. Japanese society seems to allow youth isolation more than other societies (for a discussion on hikikomori , or extreme isolation, see Sakamoto, Martin, Kumano, Kuboki, Al-Adawi, 2005). Affiliation coping, which is similar to social support coping, was found to be associated with better peer outcomes for 10th graders, but it did not seem to have a positive effect for younger adolescents. Social support coping is found to have a greater positive effect among older adolescents in Western samples (Compas, 1987), so this finding is congruent with other research findings. And last, boys’ use of externalizing coping was not found to be maladaptive for peer relations, but girls’ use was. This result suggests that gender-typed aggressive techniques yield different results, as in the USA (Gaylord, Kitzmann, Lockwood, 2003; Killen, Crystal, Watanabe, 2002). The two chief interesting results for school satisfaction were that: (1) younger adolescents (5th and 8th graders) showed a stronger relationship between school stress and dissatisfaction than 10th graders; and (2) that isolation seemed to exacerbate the relationship between school stress and dissatisfaction for younger adolescents, but it seemed not to have an effect for older adolescents. Again, this finding suggests that isolation for certain Japanese youth may be beneficial, or at least not counterproductive. The findings for self-image problems strongly suggested that they concern girls much more than boys in Japan, as they do in Western countries (O’Dea Abraham, 1999). The three-way interaction yielded the compelling finding that affiliation coping buffered the relationship between self-image problems and appearance satisfaction for girls. This seems to be an understudied issue in the Western literature, but there is some evidence (e.g., Presnell, Bearman, Stice, 2004) that females may respond positively to emotional support for body image problems. Limitations and future directions A stronger emic approach (see Niblo Jackson, 2004) to deriving Japanese adolescent themes of stress, coping, and adjustment may be a useful direction in the future. The present approach may have overlooked or ignored important cultural appraisals, and may have overrelied upon Western views of stress and coping. A longitudinal study of adolescent stress, coping, and adjustment would be extremely helpful in determining whether the relationships identified in the moderational analyses truly reflect causal and/or predictive relationships in the directions proposed here (see Cole Maxwell, 2000). All of the measures were self-report measures, and they suffer from common method variance, i.e., all data were generated from the same individuals (see Lindell Whitney, 2001). Future work may wish to obtain reports from multiple informants (e.g., parents, teachers, and children) to more rigorously examine whether the obtained relationships are robust across individuals. Conclusions The present report conveyed findings from a large sample of Japanese adolescents on measures of stress, coping, and adjustment. One significant achievement was the creation of a Japanese measure of adolescent coping, and researchers are encouraged to consider the use of this measure in the future. The other significant achievement was the examination of these three constructs in concert through the use of moderation analyses. Many findings were found to be congruent with Western findings of similar-aged samples. We suggest that
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