Hardiness And Coping Behavior In Youthful Age


The article discusses the specificity of manifesting hardiness and coping behavior in youthful age. Its crucial role in mental development is presented. It is revealed that the formation of these determinants of personal development largely depends on the social environment, as well as the conditions conducive to its transformation. Close attention is paid to the analysis of hardiness as one of the basic indicators of an individual's adaptation in modern society, the category of personality psychology, expanding explanatory potential of phenomenology in formation and development of coping behavior. The author identifies and describes the possibilities of hardiness to successfully overcome adverse environmental conditions, resistance to stress factors. The role of hardiness in the implementation of a person’s psychological potential in stressful and frustrating situations is indicated. Starting to form at an early age and throughout whole life, coping behavior affects the person’s quality of life, stimulating the occurrence of problems both at the emotional level and in the communicative sphere. The study involved 566 respondents (220 young men and 346 young ladies aged from 18 to 21 years). The results of the study show that in youthful only “challenge” has high rates. In stressful situations, young people most often demonstrate problem-oriented coping. The relationship between the components of hardiness and coping behavior in youthful age is discussed.

Keywords: Hardinesscoping behaviouryouthful agesocialization


The intensity of life, transformational changes and increased environmental, emotional and informational pressure lead to a high workload and a constant lack of time. Meanwhile, digital means of communication allow an individual to receive large amounts of information within the shortest possible time. Anyway, it is not always that people can process and assimilate it efficiently. Such a situation leads to the brain no longer adequately perceiving incoming information and switching to more primitive tasks. In other words, the ability to reason and generate new ideas decreases, the innate ability to empathize and make adequate decisions gradually disappears, information dependence arises, and personal problems go to virtual space, and, through it, into various forms of psychological challenges (Miguel, 2011; Zotova & Zotov, 2015).

This situation is especially acute in the youthful when awareness of one’s own individuality, life goals and stable image of Ego are being shaped, and the deep moral restructuring is taking place. The constant transitivity of society affects not only the assimilation of social norms at this age but also the whole process of socialization. Social space in youthful age develops social systems and relationships, as well as determines the individual well-being (Martsinkovskaya, 2013). Therefore, it is important to assess the individual ability of a person to adapt and resist adverse factors.

In psychology, the concept of hardiness was first proposed by Kobasa (1979). Hardiness in it is defined as a personal sense of meaning in the decision-making process: in favor of the past, or in favor of the future (Kobasa-Oullette & Di Placido, 2001).

The formation of hardiness begins in early childhood based on the experience of parent-child relationships. However, its intensive development occurs only when the individual begins to take care of own health and relationships with the others. The level of hardiness, formed at the early stages of socialization, has a significant impact on the formation of a person’s lifestyle (Maddi, 1996, 2005). By activating cognitive processes (Manning & Fusilier, 1999), hardiness is an integral part of feeling the fullness of life and its quality (Evans, Pellizzari, Culbert, & Metzen, 1993).

In the Russian psychology, hardiness is defined as a character trait that helps to overcome given circumstances and oneself, a systemic psychological property that is formed for the further possibility of turning problems into opportunities, the developing system of beliefs. It facilitates self-regulation both under stress and at monotonous work. A high level of hardiness allows working effectively in stressful situations; the low one - increases the chance of developing somatic diseases.

In most cases, coping with a stressful situation occurs due to the formation of the so-called “coping” behavior, which is viewed as adaptability and is determined by the ability to adequately respond to external impacts, motivation (the desire to adapt to the circumstances) and the ability to maintain mental balance (Malikova, Mikhailov, Solomin, & Shatrovoi, 2008). The reorganization of behavior, in this case, occurs due to the ability to solve problems, thereby increasing their own self-esteem and self-efficacy. Therefore, coping behavior acts as an adaptive form of behavior in a stressful situation and is aimed at a long-term resolution of problems, restoration of the broken relationships between the environment and the individual, information retrieval, and reflection (Amirkhan, 1990; Endler & Parker, 1990). At the same time, Lazarus and Folkman (1984) draw attention to the fact that coping is not constant, but rather subject to transformation with a change in the social context.

Determinants of effective coping can be gender-role stereotypes, the specifics of a stressful situation, personality traits, and the presence/absence of expected social support. Research focuses on the fact that the effectiveness of coping depends not only on the real situation but above all on its individual cognitive assessment (Conway, 1994).

Thus, coping behavior is flexible, targeted, differentiated, and reality-oriented behavior. It allows an individual to adapt to a stressful or frustrating situation, and also to resolve it in ways that are adequate to the personal characteristics of a person and the situation.

Problem Statement

The social processes of modern society each day increase the number of critical life situations that an individual must cope with. Therefore, it is important to determine not only the attitude of the person to the changes that are taking place, but also to highlight the determinants, which make it possible to adequately respond to external difficult conditions, preserve mental health, and experience self-fulfillment in various spheres of life activity.

In youthful age, adaptation resources are not sufficiently developed, and social adaptation mainly occurs due to the activation of personal structures that allow a person to actively comprehend the current situation, develop self-esteem based on conscious reflection, develop an attitude to different life situations and to the experience of these situations.

Hardiness in this age period is not only the basis of the life program that the individual will implement during his or her life, but also allows to overcome stressful situations, maintain internal balance in adverse situations, and adapt to society.

The specificity of teenagers’ development is determined by personal autonomy, as well as the need to take the inner position of an adult, the awareness of own capabilities and the purpose in life. The choice of coping in youthful age correlates with the perceived importance of the situation, stressfulness, and controllability on the part of the subject, personality variables (self-esteem, self-acceptance, self-control). Nakano (1990) points out that it is during this age period that active-behavioral struggle with troubles and focusing on solving the problem contribute to strengthening the psychological well-being of the subject, while avoidance and emotional regulation, on the contrary, lead to the appearance or strengthening of neurotic symptoms.

Therefore, the study of the relationship between hardiness and coping in youth will determine the specifics of positioning in objective and subjective personal aspects, as well as facilitate a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of socialization in a multicultural and transitive society.

Research Questions

3.1. What is the severity of the components in the structure of personality in youthful age?

3.2. What type of coping behavior dominates at a youthful age?

3.3. Are the components of hardiness associated with coping behavior in youth?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study was at identifying the correlation between the hardiness and features coping behavior in the youthful age.

Research Methods

The study was conducted by the means of the psychodiagnostic method in the Murmansk Arctic State University (MASU).


The participants were 566 respondents (220 young men and 346 young ladies aged from 18 to 21 years). The study was conducted with the voluntary consent of the participants. To achieve greater sincerity, diagnostics was performed anonymously. Interested persons were provided with the results of the study.


The study used standardized and validated psychodiagnostic methods. To diagnose the hardiness and its structure, the “Hardiness test” was used (Leontiev & Rasskazova, 2006). The technique defines hardiness as a belief system about oneself, the world, and relations with the world, and analyzes its structural components: commitment, control, challenge.

The “Coping Inventory for Stressful Situation” method (adapted by N.S. Endler, D.A. Parker) (Kryukova, 2005) makes it possible to study problem-oriented coping, emotionally-oriented coping, coping oriented to avoid, distraction and social distraction.

Statistical evaluation of the results was carried out using the Spearman rank correlation coefficient.


The manifestation of hardiness

Table 01 presents the manifestation of the structural components of hardiness in youthful age.

Table 1 -
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The results of the study show that the manifestation of hardiness corresponds to the average values, so the young people are able to withstand stressful situations, maintaining internal balance and not reducing the success of activity. They have a certain potential that they can use in a difficult or frustrating situation. It may be noted that, depending on the situation, the most optimal personal characteristics of the time being will be updated.

Involvement and control as structural components of hardiness also have an average level of expression in youthful age. Respondents are convinced that participation in current events gives them the opportunity to maximize their personal potential, to enjoy their own activities and the process of inclusion into it. Such a struggle allows them to influence the results of what is happening, even in cases where success is not guaranteed. They choose their own ways to implement their abilities and needs.

Indicators on the “challenge” scale indicate that young people are convinced that everything that happens to them contributes to the development through knowledge gained from experience, both positive and negative. They are ready to act even in the absence of reliable guarantees of success.

The respondents show greater confidence and determination for making choices in various life situations, trying to find a way to solve any problem. However, they still cannot always predict a negative outcome of events, as they are only sure of a positive result. Their decisions are characterized as spontaneous, and their interests are unstable. The absence of a high anxiety level allows them to remain open to the surrounding reality, to perceive life events as tests. Young people are self-sufficient, responsible and purposeful, have concerns about some personal qualities that they want to do better, and want to be who they are. They are open, friendly, self-confident, which contributes to the development of their sustainable behavior, strong relationships, improvement of social status.

The manifestation of coping behavior

The next stage of analysis is defining the specificity of coping behavior in youthful age (Table 02 ).

Table 2 -
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Presented results suggest that problem-oriented coping is dominant in youthful age, therefore, overcoming stressful situations in youth most often occurs due to rethinking the problem, searching for information about it and how to solve it. The person is trying to improve the “individual-society” relationships by changing the cognitive assessment of the situation. As a rule, such actions help to avoid thoughtless and impulse actions.

Average indicators on scales “emotionally-oriented coping”, “avoidance” and “distraction” show that in stressful situations, youths would rather try to change their attitude to the situation in various ways reducing emotional tension. Most often it is done by minimizing contact with the others or by performing any activities. These actions will give them the opportunity to feel more comfortable but will not be conducive to a direct solution to the situation. Therefore, they increase the likelihood of the formation of maladaptive, pseudo-mastering behavior. It should be noted that the least likely option is that young people will use communication for the resolution of stressful situations.

The correlation between hardiness and coping behaviour

The analysis of interaction between hardiness and coping behavior in youthful age is presented below (Table 03 ).

Table 3 -
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The data presented in the table suggests that in youthful age the ability to withstand a stressful situation, while maintaining internal balance, is interconnected with the depth of experiencing this situation and the skills of active problem-solving. At the same time, the more an individual is convinced that what is happening brings him or her to the maximum chance of finding something useful and interesting, the more likely he or she will use personal resources to find possible ways of effective resolution of a stressful situation without much talk of a problem with the people around. Actively searching for those around (family members, friends, colleagues) who can support and resolve a problematic situation, demonstrating maladaptive behavior, focusing on young people’s own feelings and experiences are associated with the belief that only struggle can influence the results of what is happening, even if the success not guaranteed.


Hardiness in youth allows controlling not only the person’s needs but also to form an optimal system of relationships with the others, stimulate the creation of own constructs that will help quickly and successfully adapt to the constantly changing conditions of society. It should be noted that hardiness allows predicting reactions to stressful situations, maintain an optimal level of efficiency, and actively interact with other people.

A characteristic feature of youthful age is the desire to resolve any life situation, and decisions can be made spontaneously. Analysis of stressful situations makes it possible to develop the most appropriate ways of resolving it.

The degree of experiencing a stressful or frustrating situation in youth depends on the level of internal tension, previous experience, and emotionality. The use of personal resources in resolving problematic situations will depend on how important these situations are for the individual. A stable, timely formed system of behavior will contribute not only to the realization of one’s own responsibility for the development of problematic situations but also to the successful socialization of young people in a transitive society.


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14 July 2019

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Psychology, educational psychology, counseling psychology

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Kobzeva*, O. V. (2019). Hardiness And Coping Behavior In Youthful Age. In T. Martsinkovskaya, & V. R. Orestova (Eds.), Psychology of Subculture: Phenomenology and Contemporary Tendencies of Development, vol 64. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 248-254). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.07.32