An Ethnographic Study of Coping Strategies among Chinese College Students in Beijing

1994.第9卷第1期(Vol. 9 No. 1).pp. 65–76

An Ethnographic Study of Coping Strategies among Chinese College Students in Beijing

Xiaodong YUE(岳曉東)


The present article discusses the patterns of coping strategies among a group of college students in Beijing. Specially designed questionnaires and interviews were used to collect data for the study. Results indicated that to cope with stress in their academic underachievement, emotional frustrations, interpersonal conflicts and others, the Chinese college students used a variety of strategies, including culturally appropriate ones such as self-reflection, endurance, self-control, Ah-Qism, take-it-easy/let-happen-what-may. The practical implications of the strategies are explored in relation to the current social and political realities in China. Additionally, the experiential and psychosoical significance of the culturally appropriate coping strategies are analyzed in terms of the Confucian ethics of self-cultivation and the Taoist ethics of self-transcendence. The analyses demonstrate that the coping strategies foster a sense of enlightened awareness of the dynamics of conflicts in the mundane world and that attainment of inner harmony "he" constitutes the cultural protocol for coping with stress in Chinese society. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of the present study on further researches on the issue being explored.