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International Journal of Psychology

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Collective coping, Cultural coping, Cross-cultural coping, Multicultural coping, Collectivism




A burgeoning body of cultural coping research has begun to identify the prevalence and the functional importance of collective coping behaviors among culturally diverse populations in North America and internationally. These emerging findings are highly significant as they evidence culture's impacts on the stress-coping process via collectivistic values and orientation. They provide a critical counterpoint to the prevailing Western, individualistic stress and coping paradigm. However, current research and understanding about collective coping appear to be piecemeal and not well integrated. To address this issue, this review attempts to comprehensively survey, summarize, and evaluate existing research related to collective coping and its implications for coping research with culturally diverse populations from multiple domains. Specifically, this paper reviews relevant research and knowledge on collective coping in terms of: (a) operational definitions; (b) theories; (c) empirical evidence based on studies of specific cultural groups and broad cultural values/dimensions; (d) measurements; and (e) implications for future cultural coping research. Overall, collective coping behaviors are conceived as a product of the communal/relational norms and values of a cultural group across studies. They also encompass a wide array of stress responses ranging from value-driven to interpersonally based to culturally conditioned emotional/cognitive to religion- and spirituality-grounded coping strategies. In addition, this review highlights: (a) the relevance and the potential of cultural coping theories to guide future collective coping research; (b) growing evidence for the prominence of collective coping behaviors particularly among Asian nationals, Asian Americans/Canadians and African Americans/Canadians; (c) preference for collective coping behaviors as a function of collectivism and interdependent cultural value and orientation; and (d) six cultural coping scales. This study brings to light the present theoretical and methodological contributions as well as limitations of this body of literature and the implications it holds for future coping research.


This is an Author's Original Manuscript of an article submitted for consideration in the International Journal of Psychology copyright Taylor & Francis; International Journal of Psychology is available online at

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