Differences in agency? How adolescents from 18 countries perceive and cope with their futures

Inge Seiffge-Krenke*, Malte Persike, Cecilia Chau, Leo B. Hendry, Marion Kloepp, Michelle Terzini-Hollar, Vicky C W TAM, Carmen Rodriguez Naranjo, Dora Herrera, Palma Menna, Iffat Rohail, Marika Veisson, Elsa Hoareau, Merja Luwe, Darko Loncaric, Hyeyoun Han, Ludmilla Regusch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated how N = 5,126 adolescents (mean age of 15 years) from 18 countries perceive and cope with future- and school-related stress. The adolescents completed the Problem Questionnaire (PQ), which assesses stress, and the Coping Across Situations Questionnaire (CASQ), which assesses three coping styles (reflection/support-seeking, emotional outlet, and withdrawal/denial). Across countries, adolescents reported considerably higher levels of future-related stress than school-related stress. The adolescents actively coped with stressors in both domains and seldom relied on emotional outlet or withdrawal/denial. A clustering of the countries according to socioeconomic criteria and geographical proximity demonstrated that adolescents from the continental group of countries showed low stress and high coping. Adolescents in the east/Asia group showed medium stress and low coping and those in the south group showed high stress and low coping. Developmental context was more strongly associated with stress perception and coping, style than age or gender, a finding relevant for prevention approaches aiming to endorse positive orientation to the future and improve coping competence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-270
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

User-Defined Keywords

  • Academic stress
  • Coping
  • Cross-cultural study
  • Fearful future anticipations


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