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Journal Article

Cultural and gender differences in coping strategies between Caucasian American and Korean American older people

Coping strategies have significant effects on older people's health. This study examined whether gender and ethnic differences influence the coping strategies chosen by older adults when they encounter daily life stressors. Data were collected from 444 community-dwelling people over the age of 65, including 238 Caucasian Americans and 206 Korean Americans. Results showed significant differences between the two groups. Korean Americans had higher scores on problem and emotion-focused coping strategies as well as avoidant coping strategies than Caucasian Americans. Caucasian older women employed more active coping, planning, and positive reframing skills; relied more on religion; and sought emotional support more than Caucasian men. For Korean Americans, older women utilized religion and denial; whereas older men employed instrumental support and substance abuse. The results suggest that practitioners should develop ethnic, gender-specific programs to help older adults cope more effectively with their daily life stressors.

H. Lee
D. Mason
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