Traumatic Experiences and Collectivist Coping Styles of University Students in Turkey
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AbstractSeveral taxonomies have been suggested to classsify coping styles, yet collectivist and individualist are the two fundamental types currently being adopted in research on coping styles. In this respect, the main purpose of this study was to examine the collectivist coping styles of university students who have traumatic life experiences. The sample of the study consisted of 508 (Female=333, Male=161, Unspecified=14) undergraduate students in Turkey. The findings of the study revealed that the most frequently experienced traumatic life events were “death/illness of a loved one”, “breakup with significant others”, “unwanted sexual activity/coercion/sexual assault” and “academic pressure/suspension of school”, respectively. One striking finding of the study was that 65.6% of the participants experienced only one traumatic event, 16.1% had two incidents, 10.6% had three and 7.7% had four or more traumatic events. Another noteworthy finding of the the study revealed that “Family Support” and “Religion and Spirituality” styles were referred with the lowest frequency in traumatic events of sexual content; however, these two styles were highly preferred and effective in traumatic events such as natural disaster, death of a loved one, and personal illness. It was further found that women experienced significantly more traumatic events involving sexual and physical violence, whereas men experienced major accident, natural disaster, or witness to an injury of another person or physical violence. It was found that women who had traumatic experience used “Religion and Spirituality” dimension significantly more than men. The results revealed that collectivist coping styles are widely used among Turkish university students and that the preferred coping style differs depending on gender and the traumatic situation.
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