On everyday stress and coping strategies among elementary school children
Elementary school students are confronted with a variety of everyday challenges ranging from comprehension obstacles to interpersonal conflict. Learning to cope effectively with moments of tension is an important part of a child?s education because adaptation to stress is likely to influence academic and developmental success. However, empirical gaps exist with respect to stress and coping. There is a general lack of research concerned with stress and coping in educational settings, and what has been published focuses on adolescent and adult populations rather than children. Additionally, the majority of research addresses major life stress (e.g., traumatic events) rather than the everyday stress that students encounter at school. This dissertation is an effort to address these concerns. Comprised of three studies, the project examines the stress that students in middle childhood (Grades 3-5) commonly experience at school, how students cope with stress at school, and what educators might do to help students develop adaptive coping strategies. Results illustrate the daily school stress in students, need for students to learn how to manage academic and peer problems, and role of the teacher in coping development. Concluding thoughts and a research agenda for future work are included.