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Carla Krzyske

Sinha, B.K. & Watson, D.C. (2007). Stress, coping, and psychological illness: A cross-cultural
study. International Journal of Stress Management, 14(4), 386-397.

The article discusses stress and coping with psychological illness in university students in
Canada and Italy. The authors noticed in behavioral science and medical research literature that
there was a relationship between stress coping and psychological illness. They also noticed that
there was very little cross-cultural research especially relating stress and coping to psychological
symptoms. The authors stated that moderator variables will have both theoretical and practical
significance in understanding the stress-illness relationship cross-culturally.
Participants were chosen from two public universities, one located in Alberta, Canada,
the other located in Bihar, India. All participants were first-year undergraduates with similar
demographic characteristics. The Canada sample consisted of 222 women and 122 men. The
India sample consisted of 87 women and 111 men. In order to assess and analyze the
participants, a series of questionnaires was provided to small groups at a time. There were
specific tests for each variable (stress, coping, locus of control, self-esteem, social support, and
psychological symptoms). Stress was measured uses the Hassles Scale and the Life Experiences
Survey. The Ways of Coping Questionnaire was used to assess and analyze coping. Locus of
control was tested using the Levenson Locus of Control scale. The Self Esteem Inventory
measures self-esteem attitudes. The Social Support Questionnaire assesses the number and
quality of social support persons. Psychological symptoms were measured using the Brief
Symptom Inventory.
The means, standard deviations, differences of standard deviations, effect size in Cohens
d, R square changes, and total R square were given in the results. Gender differences were

Carla Krzyske

analyzed but was deemed not a major factor in either sample and the data was analyzed as a
whole for each sample. Effect size showed significant differences in the following scales:
Hassles, Confrontive Coping, Distancing, Seeking Social Support, Positive Reappraisal, Chance
Control, and Social Support Satisfaction. From the data, it was determined that Indian students
experiences less stress than Canadian students, used different coping strategies, have a higher
belief in chance control, and are less satisfied with social support. However, Indian students had
higher mean scores on the majority of psychological symptoms. They also drew random
samplings from each group and found similar results in the multiple Rs. This showed that there
was significantly less variance in the psychological symptoms of Indian students. The authors
noted that stress-coping and related personal-social variables did not have a strong relationship
with psychological symptoms in Indian students, suggesting these variables are not universal and
there are other important predictor variables in non-Western cultures. For future research, the
authors suggest a focus on the identifications of variables associated with psychological illness,
especially in Eastern cultures with Brahaminist and Buddhist philosophical orientation. Stress
definitions, in terms of hassles and life events, need to be elaborated. They discerned that
conflicts between personal desires and societal expectations may be a major source of stress in
India.