USP’s School of Education strengthens external engagement
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Dr Sigrun (front middle) with Professor Lingam to her right and staff of the SOED.
A recent study on adolescent coping in Fiji, Australia and Iceland was conducted using a cross-cultural adolescent coping scale, the Measure of Adolescent Coping Strategies (MACS).
The study was conducted by the Principal researcher, Professor. Sigrun Sveinbjornsdottir, a Professor Emerita from the University of Akureyri in Iceland in conjunction with Professor Govinda Lingam, Head of School of Education in USP, and Associate Professor Einar B. Thorsteinsson from the University of New England in Australia. Professor Sigrun presented her results on 17 March, 2017, during her visit to USP.
The MACS was developed by Professor Sigrun and consists of five primary factors of adolescent coping which comprised of two dimensions: one adaptive, and the other maladaptive. There are three adaptive coping factors (Seeking Social Support, Self-Care, and Stoicism/Distraction) and two maladaptive coping factors (Rumination and Acting Out).
In the study on adolescents’ ways of coping, the MACS scale was implemented with more than 800 adolescents from selected secondary schools around Fiji.
This study follows an international interest in adolescents’ health, and since stress is known to have adverse effects on health, the role of individual coping strategies are understood to be of importance.
In Professor Sigrun´s earlier research on Australian and Icelandic adolescents, she found that there were no cultural differences in coping strategies. The results from this study confirm that the factor structure of MACS means that the ways of Fijian adolescent’s coping strategies categorises in the same factors and dimension as do their Australian and Icelandic counterparts.
These results indicate further that the MACS is a cross-cultural scale and that there may be an international, human way of adolescent coping, independent of cultures within as well as across categories of Human Development Index (HDI), as defined by UN.
The MACS, including these added results on the reliability and validity across HDI categories, may become useful in the following ways:
(a) a tool/scale to use in international as well as local adolescent study;
(b) provide information for intervention and planning for better adolescents’ health and well-being; and
(c) enable practitioners within the sectors of health and education, to work with adolescents on an individual face-to-face basis or in groups.
Whilst thanking Professor Sigrun, Professor Lingam stated the need for more collaborative research with staff from other universities for research capacity building.
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