DDD Conference

Dr. Hassan Ganayim

Characterization of Stress Situations and Coping Strategies Among Arab Bedouin Teenagers Living in Unrecognized Villages in Israel

Ben-Gurion University, Israel

The lives of Bedouin teenagers in unrecognized villages are complex and characterized by ambiguity – in addition to the universal challenges of teenagers, they face new challenges due to the gaps between the traditional and urban life values that they are transitioning between.

‎‎I wish to apply the interaction theory of Lazarus and Folkman (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) to the self-defined stressors and coping of this Bedouin youth: Lazarus and Folkman defined coping as an attempt to change the stress situation by problem-solving strategies, regulating the subjective components involved in the stress situation, or both of them.‎‎ Coping strategies derived from this theory have been examined primarily in Western populations. In studies conducted among non-Western populations the results were inconsistent. ‎‎Therefore, the aim of the present study is to characterize unique stress situations that Bedouin teenagers face and their coping strategies,‎‎ ‎‎and to understand whether coping strategies help them deal with stressors in the same way they help in Western societies.

The findings of the present study indicate that the stress sources the teenagers presented are due to the turbulent and stressful developmental stage in which they are, the low socio-economic status and the modernization process their society is undergoing.‎‎ ‎‎Apparently the various characteristics of the Bedouin society that include the support it provides to its members, the high number of demands from them, the scarcity of resources and the low socio-economic status are responsible for the finding that the external resources presented by the teenagers were also found as sources of stress.‎‎ ‎‎Also, the internal resources raised indicate an expansion of the resource box among the teenagers following the process of change and modernization that the Bedouin society is going through.‎‎ In addition, it seems that the characteristics of society and its emphasis on gender roles are responsible for a large part of the gender differences in the use of coping strategies. ‎‎The current study found that female teenagers expressed emotional responses, sought emotional support, and tended to use avoidance more than their male counterparts did.‎‎

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