Stress and coping strategies among Zimbabwean adolescents


Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Lindiwe Magaya, Georgian Court University, Lakewood, NJ 08701-2697, USA (e-mail:


Background. Stress and social support influence adolescents' coping strategies. Adolescents need to acquire a large repertoire of coping strategies in light of a rapidly changing socio-economic and political situation.

Aim. This study reports on the coping strategies of Zimbabwean adolescents and highlights some major stressors they face. The interplay among stress, social support and the coping strategies of Zimbabwean adolescents are also reported.

Sample. A sample of 101 Zimbabwean students (ages 17–19) participated in this study.

Method. Participants completed three instruments: the Perceived Stress Scale, the Social Provision Scale and the Ways of Coping Scale.

Results. Zimbabwean adolescents experienced slight stress as measured by the Perceived Stress Scale. Major stressors included schoolwork, relationships, social life and financial hardship. Females reported a higher level of perceived stress than males. Zimbabwean adolescents reported having fewer social provisions than the norm group. Results from the Ways of Coping Scale indicated that Zimbabwean adolescents use emotion-focused strategies more frequently than problem-solving strategies.

Conclusion. The implications of the study are that Zimbabwean adolescents may need to acquire a larger repertoire of coping skills adding to what they may already have. Problem-solving skills need to be employed in face of today's challenging situations.