Relationship Of Individual Psychological Personalities With Coping Behavior In Generation X


The study of coping behavior is one of the most rapidly developing areas in the field of health, social and psychological research. Russian psychologists are actively developing theoretical and practical aspects of coping behavior as a phenomenon of regulation and self-regulation of the subject's behavior, personal development, well-being, health, resources, and human productivity. The article analyzes the relationship between individual psychological characteristics of personality and coping behavior in elderly people. The study involved retired persons living in the city of Vladikavkaz (Republic of North Ossetia-Alania). There were revealed positive correlations between emotionally oriented coping and demonstrativeness, suspicion, impulsivity, anxiety, tension, and depression. It is described that problem-oriented coping is typical for extroverts, sociable and gullible people, inclined to self-control, persistence, and responsibility. Avoidance-oriented coping is characteristic of people who are expressive, inquisitive, flexible in their behavior in external circumstances. Coping behavior of elderly people is associated with a system of goal-setting actions, predicting the outcome of the process, and creatively solving a problem situation. It is a complex multifactorial phenomenon that provides a person with productivity, good health, and well-being, through the conscious choice of behaviors following personal characteristics and the requirements of a stressful situation. Avoidance-oriented coping is characteristic of people who are expressive, curious, seeking new impressions, and flexible in their behavior in external circumstances. The data obtained can be considered in the development of educational and methodological programs in social psychology, developmental and developmental psychology, gerontopsychology, crisis psychology, psychological counseling, personality psychology, stress psychology, etc.

Keywords: coping behavior, problem-oriented coping, emotionally-oriented coping, avoidance, generation


The fast pace of modern life, the presence of many stress factors in various fields of activity require a person to overcome them urgently and constructively. The way of development, social adaptation, state of psychosomatic health, and psychological well-being of any person will largely depend on the quality of overcoming stressful situations. The use of all kinds of methods and techniques aimed at overcoming stress and processes occurring in adverse life situations is commonly called coping behavior.

The term “coping” was first proposed by L. Murphy (1962), but the main merit in popularizing the concept of “coping behavior” belongs to R. Lazarus (1966), who considered coping as an activity of a person to maintain a balance between the requirements of the environment and resources that satisfy these requirements (Folkman & Lazarus, 1986).

A theoretical analysis of foreign psychological literature shows that the goal of “coping” can be an adaptation to stress (M. Parker, I. Paulhan), maintaining the integrity and psychological comfort of the individual (Perrez, 2001), as well as activating internal resources to transform the current situation (Lazarus, Kanner& Folkman, 2000).

In the works of Russian psychologists, coping is synonymous with coping, since its semantics and meaning to the greatest extent reflect the essence of the proposed concept. According to V. Dahl, the word "co-ownership" comes from the old Russian "harmony", "to cope" and means "to cope with something or someone", "to overcome a problem", "to put in order", "to subjugate circumstances", thus, in our country, the concept of “coping” is identical to the concept of “coping with stress”.Domestic psychologist L.I. Antsiferova considers the concept of coping as a combination of creative and reflexive behavior of a person, contributing to overcoming a difficult life situation. When specifying the term "difficult life situation" L.I. Antsiferova refers to the Federal Law "On the Basics of Social Services for the Population" adopted by the State Duma of the Russian Federation on November 15, 1995. It understands a difficult life situation as a situation that objectively disrupts the life of a citizen (inability to self-service due to old age, illness, orphanhood, unemployment, lack of a certain place of residence, conflicts, and abuse in the family, loneliness, etc.), which he cannot overcome on his own (Kryukova, 2015).

Her followers, S. A. Khazova, N. I. Sirota, and V. M. Yaltonsky, coping was understood as adaptive behavior used in stressful situations to reduce the impact of stress to regulate emotional states to stop, avoid or endure the effect of a stressor. From the point of view of E.I. Chekhlaty and N.V. Veselova, the concept of coping should be considered as an active effort of an individual aimed at mastering a problem situation (Vasserman, 2010).

According to T. L. Kryukova, T. A. Osipovich, E. V. Kuftyak, M. V. Saporovskaya, coping is purposeful behavior that allows a person to cope with a difficult life situation in ways that are adequate to personal characteristics and the situation. Such conscious behavior is aimed at actively changing, transforming a situation that is amenable to control, or at adapting to it. The purpose of coping behavior is to master, resolve or mitigate, get used to or evade the demands of a crisis, as well as, possibly, prevent it by early recognition of its undecidability or danger (Rasskazova, Gordeeva &Osin, 2013).

Problem Statement

Of particular interest to most researchers is the problem of the relationship between psychological characteristics and personality coping behavior in representatives of different generations, among elderly people (Kiseleva, O. V., Polshina, M. A., Kolomets, L. A., Granovskaya, R. M., Nikolskaya, I. M., Sirota, N. A., Dubinina, A. S., Saporovskaya, M. V., Kryukova, T. L., Yaltonsky, V. M., etc.).

The theory of generations was first scientifically substantiated and formulated by American scientists Neil Howe and William Strauss in 1991. It arose at the intersection of economics, demography, and history. The key thesis of such an interdisciplinary theory is the fact that the period in which a particular person was born affects his worldview, his value system (Afanasieva&Gurieva, 2019).

N. Hove and W. Strauss proved that every 20 years a new generation appears with a different scale of values ​​and behavior different from its predecessors. According to scientists, the dominant influence on the formation of the values ​​of the generation is exerted by the model of upbringing adopted in the family, as well as factors such as political, economic, social, and technological events that have occurred with children under 11-12 years of age. It is these values ​​that influence the behavior of a person throughout his life - on his attitude to work, outlook on the world, consumer behavior, and so on.

It should be noted that the question of the real scientific significance of the theory of generations is open. Over the years, there has been extensive criticism of this approach in scientific circles, citing speculativeness and insufficient empirical validity of this theory (Gurieva, 2008).

Even though initially the theory of generations of Strauss and Hove was aimed at studying Anglo-American history, later it became widespread in many countries of the world, including Russia.

The proposed model was adapted to Russian reality by sociologists Yu.A. Levada, V.V. Gavrilyuk, N.A. Trikoz, psycholinguist E. Shamis, and psychologist A. Antipov. They identified key global and local events for Russian citizens that influenced the formation of the next generations:

1) Generation GI (born 1900-1923)

2) Silentgeneration (born 1923-1943)

3) Generation of Baby-Boomers (born 1943-1963)

4) Generation X (born 1963-1984)

5) Generation Y (born 1984-2000)

6) Generation Z (since 2000)

To comprehensively study the coping behavior of elderly people, we will dwell in more detail on the description of the psychological characteristics of generation X, to which they belong.

In the United States, Generation X is commonly referred to as people born during the fertility decline that followed the demographic explosion of the 1960s. 20th century In Great Britain, the term was first used by Jane Deverson in 1964 in a study of British youth. The term was then further disseminated in a book by Canadian writer Douglas Copeland, describing the fear and anxiety of people born between 1960 and 1965. In 1991, in the book Generations by William Strauss and Neil Howe, Gen X was named Generation 13. The authors determined the birth years of this generation from 1965 to 1982, based on the study of peaks and troughs in cultural trends, considering this to be more indicative than the birth rate. Ostrich and Howe highlight the different influences that have shaped Generation 13:

- dissatisfaction with the authorities, lack of trust in the leadership, especially in the institutional one;

-huge political indifference;

-increase in the number of divorces;

-increase in the number of women-mothers in workplaces;

- zero population growth;

- an increase in the number of disagreements in the educational system;

-reduction of funding for the education system and the inaccessibility of student loans;

-Changes in career prospects: have increased academic requirements and requirements for intellectual ability;

-problems of the environment and ecology;


Generation X, during their social life, found themselves in a situation where technologies began to change many times before our eyes, causing an explosion of social transformations. It is this generation that knows life outside the era of the Internet. They can compare and understand the advantages and disadvantages of information technology and the pace of its change.

In Russia and the countries of the former USSR, Generation X met the grandiose political and economic upheavals associated with the collapse of the country at a fairly young age, which influenced their future fate. The older half of the generation was at the time of the social break at the beginning of an independent life path. Most of them had to face the most serious problem of professional and personal development as growing-up period (the period of graduation from educational institutions or the first years of labor) took place at the very end of the 1980s or 90s, when, in the context of the collapse of enterprises, infrastructure, in the post-Soviet countries, it was difficult to acquire skills in the workplace. Therefore, representatives of this age cohort found themselves in a professional position in a less advantageous position in comparison with both older and younger colleagues. The same applies to family building and is reflected by the drop in the birth rate in the 1990s: for social reasons, many Russians who were themselves born from the early-mid 1960s to the early 1970s were unable to become parents in time.

In 2018, the Russian government announced a gradual increase in the retirement age in the country - for men (women) the bar will rise from 60 to 65 (from 55 to 60) years. This will be the first to fully affect men (women) born in 1963 (1968), i.e., the older half of Generation X will have to bear the brunt of the pension reform.

The younger half of the generation in question found themselves in a different situation: the problems of the late 1980s and early 1990s robbed these people of part of their childhood and adolescence. The question of work activity for them was not yet raised, but they already perfectly understood what position their parents were in (many were thrown to the sidelines of life). The advantage was that embarking on an independent path, representatives of this generation proceeded from new realities and new “rules of the game”, without illusions (Moos & Schaefer, 2001).

Domestic psychologist A. Antipov called generation X "an unknown generation", in whose eyes the cold war, the country's closed nature, the war in Afghanistan, stagnation, drugs, AIDS, total shortages, and the beginning of perestroika were unfolding. The divorce boom that swept across the country in their time made this generation more flexible in relations with people, and the constant employment of workaholic parents at work - more independent. He believed that during the childhood of generation X, the function of parental care for the younger generation was not at all a priority. In this connection, generation X in childhood could independently travel around the city, they warmed up their lunch, from childhood they knew how to cook fried eggs. All this led to the fact that having become adults, they turned into people for whom the main qualities were a constant readiness for changes, relying only on their strengths and their own experience. Generation X rarely and reluctantly resorts to someone else's help. They are individualists, opponents of all kinds of crowds and entertainment. Even when choosing a sport for themselves, they usually choose wrestling and boxing for boys, or gymnastics and figure skating for girls. The main value for this generation is choice. The best work for them is the one that allows them to show creativity, breadth, and out-of-the-box thinking. And the best rest is a boarding house, a sanatorium, a beach. At the same time, Generation X is quite cynical and pragmatic. Brought up behind the "Iron Curtain", they did not feel the influence of other countries on themselves, therefore the concept of "patriotism" is weakened in them. Homeland for them is his family, his relatives, his children. Another value for Generation X is time (Amirkhan, 2008).

Research Questions

Purpose of the Study

The study aims to identify the connections of personality traits with various coping strategies among representatives of generation X. Based on the aim of the study, the following tasks were identified:

  • identification of preferred coping strategies in the elderly;
  • determination of individual psychological characteristics of pensioners;
  • establishing links between preferred coping strategies and the personal characteristics of retirees.

Research Methods

The research was carried out using the following set of empirical methods: the author's questionnaire with questions aimed at establishing the socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents; developed by N. Endler and D. Parker, adapted by T. L. Kryukova test "Coping behavior in stressful situations", the methodology "Five-factor questionnaire of personality BIG FIVE", developed by P. Costa and R. McRae, adapted by A. B. Khromov. The results of the study were processed and analyzed using mathematical and statistical methods, using computer programs Excel and "SPSS.13.0", while using Pearson's r-test.


During the conducted scientific research, a positive correlation between problem-oriented coping and such personal property as "self-control" (r = 0.159 at p≤0.05) was revealed. This indicates that a person who can control their own emotions, thoughts, and behavior, can achieve their goals, and is also able to make informed decisions and implement them, in a stressful life situation uses coping, focused on overcoming the problem through analysis and thinking about all kinds of actions.

It was found that persons choosing problem-oriented coping are pronounced extroverts (r = 0.311 at p≤0.01). They tend to quickly establish contact with people around them, are sociable, optimistic, quite easily adapt to changing environmental conditions, are proactive, value praise and attention to their person.

It was found that problem-oriented coping is also characteristic of a person with high indicators of activity (r = 0.204 at p≤0.01) and sociability (r = 0.181 at p≤0.05). This suggests that coping aimed at energetically overcoming difficulties is characteristic of an entrepreneurial, active, contact, open person, actively interacting with the surrounding reality.

It was revealed that problem-oriented coping is characteristic of people who are responsible (r = 0.159 at p≤0.05), prudent (r = 0.275 at p≤0.01), and gullible (r = 0.232 at p≤0.01). The data obtained indicate that a person who controls and plans his activities following the norms and rules adopted in society with a high degree of awareness and the ability to think about the consequences, in a difficult life situation, uses problem-oriented coping.

The relationship of problem-oriented coping with indicators on the scales "Understanding" (r = 0.198 at p≤0.01) and "Respect for others" (r = 0.186 at p≤0.01) was determined. This may indicate that coping, aimed at a quick and high-quality solution to the problem, is more common among people who are capable of respect and recognition of the merits of others. Such individuals are distinguished by a positive attitude towards society, can assimilate the content and hidden mechanisms of the problem situation that has arisen, and constructively use the information received to overcome the prevailing circumstances.

At the same time, it was found that individuals who choose problem-oriented coping in a stressful situation are characterized by such individual psychological characteristics as persistence (r = 0.214 at p≤0.01) and accuracy (r = 0.239 at p≤0.01) ... A person who uses a problem-based strategy has enough willpower to achieve the goal while overcoming obstacles of various kinds. Also, such a person is characterized by diligence, thoroughness, accuracy in a business, organization, and the desire for order.

Also, during the study, it was possible to determine that with a decrease in tension (r = - 0.195 at p≤0.01), self-criticism (r = - 0.190 at p≤0.01), and with depression (r = - 0.254 at p≤0 01), older people are more likely to choose a problem-oriented strategy for overcoming the crisis. This is since their mental tension is accompanied by a feeling of general discomfort, anxiety, anxiety, however, does not exclude the possibility of pondering the current situation and purposefully resolving it.

It was found that for persons who more often in a stressful situation resort to using emotionally-oriented coping, it is characteristic to draw attention to their person (r = 0.158 at p≤0.01). This means that individuals with demonstrative character traits, in a difficult life situation, fixate on the experience of their helplessness and look for an opportunity for emotional release.

It was determined that emotionally oriented coping is more often chosen by individuals with high indicators of emotional instability (r = 0.475 at p≤0.01) and emotional lability (r = 0.396 at p≤0.01), i.e., in a difficult situation, they show emotional lability without objective reasons, loss of control, a tendency to impulsivity in words and actions, and general instability of behavior.

A positive relationship was revealed between the indicator of emotionally oriented strategy and such personality traits as anxiety (r = 0.407 at p≤0.001) and depression (r = 0.349 at p≤0.01). This suggests that when fixing on feelings of helplessness, the prevalence of thoughts about the inability to cope with the difficulties, the feeling of emotional imbalance associated with a presentiment of impending danger increases.

For pensioners who prefer an emotionally oriented strategy, self-criticism (r = 0.399 at p≤0.01), tension (r = 0.408 at p≤0.01) and curiosity (r = 0.22 at p≤0.01) are characteristic. which are manifested in the excessive identification of their mistakes and shortcomings, repeated analysis, and a tendency to negative assessments of their activities, their thinking, and behavior.

Studies clearly show that the higher the indicators of responsibility (r = - 0.194 at p≤0.01), persistence (r = - 0.226 at p≤0.01), self-control (r = - 0.226 at p≤0.01) and gullibility (r = - 0.273 at p≤0.01), the less often a person chooses emotionally oriented strategies. The revealed correlations indicate that individuals who are capricious and cannot assess the situation, are not able to control their impulsive drives, make great efforts to achieve the goal, and adequately relate to failures.

A positive relationship was found between coping aimed at avoidance and the scales of curiosity (r = 0.183 at p≤0.05) and curiosity (r = 0.289 at p≤0.01). Elderly people who satisfy their curiosity by showing an interest in various, sometimes even dangerous aspects of life, do not take systematic activities seriously enough and, when difficulties arise, try to avoid them.

The avoidance strategy is more often chosen by pensioners with high indicators of expressiveness (r = 0.173 at p≤0.05) and gullibility (r = 0.180 at p≤0.05). The presence of the identified connections suggests that such people trust their own emotions more than common sense, paying little attention to everyday duties, avoiding current every day worries.

The behavior of a person in which he avoids situations that frighten him is more characteristic of extroverts (r = 0.247 at p ≤ 0.01) and sociable (r = 0.223 at p ≤ 0.05) individuals with a high level of attachment (r = 0.159 at p≤0.05). Such retirees are characterized by flexibility of behavior and sociability, a desire for risk and activity can be traced.

A negative relationship was also revealed between the indicator "responsibility" (r = - 0.239 at p≤0.01) and coping aimed at avoidance. This indicates that the choice of coping avoidance as the dominant strategy for coping with stress is preferred by those who are indifferent to their own lives and perform any work in bad faith.


Summarizing the above, it should be noted that problem-oriented coping is characteristic of active retirees, sociable and trusting, inclined to self-control, perseverance, and responsibility. This coping strategy, as a rule, is chosen by emotionally stable individuals, characterized by stability and self-sufficiency, with a high level of emotional comfort. O.V. Kisileva received and described similar data in her research. She noted that pensioners are characterized by frequent distraction to external events, sensitivity, and a frequent tendency to nostalgia. Even though they are characterized by a desire to establish contacts with others, in their relationships, they manifest rigidity.

There were established positive correlations between an emotionally oriented strategy and such personal characteristics as suspicion, impulsivity, anxiety, tension, self-criticism, and depression. This style is typical for retirees who are emotionally labile and less stable.

Russian psychologist M. A. Polshina revealed that a decrease in anxiety-suspicious characteristics of older people, the development of voluntary regulation help to cope more effectively with problem situations (Vodopyanova, 2009). Similar results were confirmed in our study.

Avoidance-oriented coping is characteristic of people who are expressive, curious, seeking new impressions and flexible in their behavior concerning external circumstances.

As the study shows, in early old age, the beliefs and life principles of an individual grow stiff and intolerance to a different outlook on life appears. In some cases, an elderly individual may show aggressive behavior, defending his beliefs. And the main psychological feature of elderly people in the search for the meaning of a life already lived and evidence of the justification of life-meaning orientations.

The main causes of nervous tension and stress in the elderly are a changed life rhythm and a sharp narrowing of the social circle. Often, withdrawal from active work activity leads to the fact that the individual closes in on himself and even begins to avoid communicating with loved ones, believing that they will not be able to understand him. Loneliness becomes a strong shock for many elderly people, which creates the preconditions for the formation of an acute intrapersonal conflict, in which they stop accepting old age as a productive part of life. Upon retirement, an elderly person needs to establish a new field for applying his strength and skills, otherwise, the circle of his interests will gradually narrow, and a decrease in communication skills, as a result, can lead to an emotional crisis (Kryukova, 2015).

Summarizing the above, it should be noted that coping behavior implies an individual way of coping with a difficult situation, following its importance in the life of the individual and his personal and environmental resources, which largely determine human behavior. Its main task is to ensure and maintain human well-being, physical and mental health, as well as satisfaction with social relations.

Coping behavior of elderly people is associated with a system of goal-setting actions, predicting the outcome of the process, and creatively solving a problem situation. It is a complex multifactorial phenomenon that provides a person with productivity, good health, and well-being, through the conscious choice of behaviors following personal characteristics and the requirements of a stressful situation.

The prospect of further research is seen in the analysis and determination of the most effective and suitable forms and methods of work for pensioners to adapt them to inevitable life changes.


The authors would appreciate to receive feedback and comments on the paper from its readers. We are grateful to our unknown reviewers for their review and comments that greatly improved our manuscript. They will help us complete and enhance the research. The reported study was funded by RFBR, project number 19-313-90033.


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31 March 2022

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Afanasyeva, Y. A., Gurieva, S. D., Ilchenko, V. V., Hydalova, M. Z., & Biragova, F. R. (2022). Relationship Of Individual Psychological Personalities With Coping Behavior In Generation X. In I. Savchenko (Ed.), Freedom and Responsibility in Pivotal Times, vol 125. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1322-1329). European Publisher.