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Comparison of coping, stress, and life satisfaction between Taiwanese and U.S. College Students.

Measures of coping resources, perceived stress, and life satisfaction were used to compare 120 Taiwanese men, 387 Taiwanese women, 114 U.S. women, and 264 U.S. men currently in college. While no differences were found in overall coping resources and perceived stress, U.S. students reported greater life satisfaction than Taiwanese students. Models for predicting life satisfaction from perceived stress and coping resources were significant for both genders within each country. Implications for counselors are discussed.


College students in the United States report a large number of stressors (American College Health Association, 2004; Roberti, Harrington, & Storch, 2006) and must cope with multiple sources of stress, such as challenging academic hurdles, financial obligations, time pressures, the need to create new friendships, and living away from home (Greenberg, 2002). Pierceall and Keim (2007) noted that about 13% of students reported low stress, 75% moderate stress, and 12% high stress. College students consistently identify academics, relationships, and traumatic events as major categories of stressful events (e.g., Archer & Lamnin, 1985; Baldwin, Chambliss, & Towler, 2003; Kariv & Heiman, 2005; Murphy & Archer, 1996).

All these challenges draw heavily on college student coping resources. The Transactional Model of Stress (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) provides a useful framework for examining the resilience of college students in meeting challenges. The theory suggests that reactions to stressors will be influenced by the balance between perceived demands and perceived resources for coping with them. Appraisal of the nature and severity of the challenge encountered and the adequacy of one's resources for managing it determine whether the demand confronted will be perceived as stressful. The resilience displayed by college students confronting stressful situations may be largely attributable to the coping resources they have accumulated over time and can bring to bear in the face of challenges (Brown, 2004; Spencer et al., 2006).

Recently, researchers (e.g., Leong & Blustein, 2000; Leong & Ponterotto, 2003) have called for expanded research with international samples rather than simply focusing on diverse cultures in the United States. For example, researchers are beginning to study how specific cultural groups may cope differently with stress; group differences may explain variations in such psychological outcomes as depression and life satisfaction. One promising culture-specific mechanism is individualism-collectivism, which has been found to explain differences in depression (Steptoe, Tsuda, Tanaka, & Wardle, 2007) and life satisfaction (Hofstede & McRae, 2004). For instance, Suh, Diener, Oishi, & Triandis (1998) found that an individual's emotional experiences were a much stronger predictor of life satisfaction for individuals from individualistic cultures than for those from more collectivist cultures. In contrast, an individual's emotional experiences and cultural norms about the desirability of life satisfaction were equally important in predicting life satisfaction for individuals in collectivist cultures.

In one study of coping by youths from 11 different cultures, Ungar et al. (2007) concluded that no one culture predicted resilience better than another. This conclusion was supported by research that studied the coping resources of college students in the United States and Turkey (Matheny et al., 2002) and the United States and Mexico (Matheny, Roque-Tovar, & Curlette, 2008). Although no significant differences in coping resources were found in these studies, there were significant differences in the specific coping resources of different cultural groups.

Hofstede (1980) found several significant differences between U.S. and Taiwanese cultures that likely influence coping. He noted that the U.S. culture is highly individualistic, and the Taiwanese culture collectivist. Individual accomplishment and competition are strongly reinforced in the United States, and family cohesiveness and meeting traditional obligations are strongly reinforced in Taiwan. Hwang (2009) noted that exposure to Western culture, with its emphasis on independence and self-sufficiency, is likely to create interpersonal conflict between Taiwanese youth and their parents as the youth experience the tension between their desire for independence and the cultural pressure for interdependence. Consistent with these potential differences Hwang found that, unlike U.S. college students, who identified intimate relationships and parental conflicts as their major personal stressors, Taiwanese college students identified their perceived low learning efficiency and competition among students as the major stressors.

In addition to investigating the role of culture in how college students cope, researchers have also considered possible gender differences. For instance, Eaton and Bradley (2008) found that female students perceived greater stress than male students when exposed to the same scenarios. In a large meta-analytic study, Tamres, Janicki, and Helgeson (2002) found that women appraised stressors to be more severe than men and were more likely to use coping styles that emphasized verbal expression, such as seeking emotional support and positive self-talk.

A number of researchers have investigated gender differences in stress and coping in other countries as well. For example, Li (2008) found that Taiwanese female students had significantly more stress and significantly less resilience than their male counterparts. Investigating differences between Turkish and U.S. college students, Matheny et al. (2002) found that different types of coping resources predicted life satisfaction. For example, while social support and financial freedom were significant predictors for both genders in each country, personal acceptance, physical health, and stress monitoring were more likely to predict life satisfaction for U.S. females than for other groups. Another coping resource, self-directedness, was a significant predictor for Turkish male students but not for the other three groups.

Although researchers have examined both gender differences and differences in the adjustment of Taiwanese college students studying in the United States and their U.S. counterparts (Swagler & Ellis, 2003; Ying & Liese, 1994), no studies have investigated differences between U.S. students attending American colleges and Taiwanese students attending Taiwanese colleges. This is particularly important given the increased focus on cross-cultural research. This study builds upon previous studies that compared U.S. college students with Mexican students (Matheny et al., 2008) and Turkish students (Matheny et al., 2002) by examining differences between U.S. students at U.S. colleges and Taiwanese students at Taiwanese colleges with respect to the perceived stressfulness of their lives, the adequacy of their resources for coping with stressors, and the manner in which the match influences their life satisfaction. The following hypotheses were formulated:

H1. No significant differences would be found on an overall measure of coping resources (CRIS-CRE) based on country (Taiwan vs. United States), gender (male vs. female), or their interaction.

H2. Women would report significantly higher levels of perceived stress than men, but no differences would be found based on country (Taiwan vs. United States).

H3. Different levels of perceived stress and CRIS-CRE for Taiwanese women, Taiwanese men, U.S. men, and U.S. women would explain different proportions of life satisfaction.

H4. No differences in life satisfaction would be found by country, gender, or their interaction.

H5. Perceived stress (PSS) would mediate the relationship between CRISCRE and life satisfaction (SWLS) for all four groups.


Participants and Procedures

The sample consisted of 885 participants: 507 undergraduates at a major public university in Taiwan (23.7% men and 76.3% women) and 378 undergraduates at a public university in the Southeastern United States (30.2% men and 69.8% women). Taiwanese college students ranged in age from 18 to 58 with a mean of 28.57 (SD = 9.59) and a median age of 26.00. The range for U.S. college students was from 18 to 54 with a mean of 22.73 (SD = 6.68) and a median of 20.00. Eighty percent of Taiwanese respondents were single; the other 20% were divorced, separated, or married. Among U.S. college students, about 75% were single and the rest married, divorced, or separated.

Participants were recruited as volunteers and completed, in one setting, the Coping Resources Inventory for Stress (CRIS; Matheny, Curlette, Aycock, Pugh, & Taylor, 2006), the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS; Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983), and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS; Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985). All scales were administered in the respondents' native languages. For the Chinese versions, the scales were translated from English to Chinese and then translated back into English to insure comparability. Taiwanese instructors administered the battery of tests in eight sections of a course required for all undergraduate students. Taiwanese participants represented all four colleges of the university (Liberal Arts, Science, Education, and Art); U.S. respondents represented both the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education. In the U.S., participants were recruited from introductory undergraduate psychology research pools. U.S. participants were able to choose from a range of studies for course credit by accessing an online portal that tracked participation. University Institutional Review Board approval was obtained for this study.


The CRIS. The CRIS is a 280-item true-false inventory measuring 15 coping resources, based on the Transactional Model of Stress (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). Studies supporting the validity of the CRIS have used as dependent variables emotional distress, personality type, acculturation, life satisfaction, and others (Matheny & Curlette, 1998). The CRIS yields 37 scores: an overall coping resources effectiveness score (CRIS-CRE), 15 resource scales, 16 wellness inhibiting items, and five validity keys. In U.S. samples, the scales demonstrated high Kuder-Richardson Formula 20 (range = .84 to .97; Mdn. = .88) and moderate to low intercorrelations (range = .05 to .62, Mdn = .33; Curlette, Aycock, Matheny, Pugh, & Taylor, 2006). The instrument was translated by one author of this study from English to Mandarin Chinese. Another person, independent of the study, then translated it back into English. Differences between the two were reviewed and adjusted to the satisfaction of both the independent reviewer and the author translator. The CRIS has been used with other diverse samples, such as Mexican students (Matheny et al., 2008) and Turkish college students (Matheny et ah, 2002), and found to have high internal reliability and concurrent validity with life satisfaction and perceived stress. In addition, the Kuder-Richardson Formula 20 for the CRIS-CRE in this study were .98 for the U.S. samples and .96 for the Taiwanese samples, which demonstrated very high internal consistency.

PSS. The PSS is a 14-item inventory using a 5-point Likert-type scale that offers a nonspecific measure of appraised stress. Total scores range from 0 to 56, with higher scores indicating higher perceived stress. The PSS measures levels of stress as experienced rather than providing objective measures of stress (Cohen, Kessler, & Gordon, 1997). In numerous studies with samples from the U.S. the PSS has been significantly correlated with life events, depressive and physical symptoms, utilization of health services, social anxiety, smoking-reduction maintenance, and lower life satisfaction (e.g., Cohen et ah, 1997; Sheets, Gorenflo, & Forney, 1993). Several U.S. studies using the PSS have found gender differences, with women reporting more stressful events and appraising them as more serious than men did (Hall, Chipperfield, Perry, Ruthig, & Goetz, 2006; Tytherleigh, Jacobs, Webb, Ricketts, & Cooper, 2007). Several studies have found the PSS to be a reliable and valid measure when used with Asian populations (e.g., Wei et ah, 2010). Leung, Lam, & Chan (2010) described a series of confirmatory factor analyses that supported the structure of a Chinese version of the PSS with a large sample of 1,800 Chinese cardiac patients. Other studies have shown support for the validity and reliability of the Chinese version of the PSS with Cronbach alphas ranging from .75 to .85 (Chou, Avant, Kuo, & Fetzer, 2008; Gao, Chan, & Mao, 2009; Leung et ah, 2010; Wang & Chen, 2006). A number of studies with Chinese samples also offer evidence for the concurrent validity of the PSS, including positive correlations with measures of depression (Chou et ah, 2008; Gao et ah, 2009; Wang & Chen, 2006) and dependency (Leung et ah, 2010) and negative correlations with measures of self-esteem (Wang & Chen, 2006) and social support (Gao et ah, 2009). Cohen et ah (1997) reported that internal consistency reliabilities ranged from .84 to .86 across two groups of U.S. university students and one group of U.S. participants in a community smoking-cessation program. In this study the Cronbach alphas were .72 for the Taiwanese sample and .85 for the U.S. sample.

SWLS. The construct "satisfaction with life" generally is subsumed under the construct "well-being" and is to be differentiated from the construct of "happiness" (Emmons & Diener, 1985; Tsou & Liu, 2001). Life satisfaction is a cognitive state derived from an assessment of life as a whole (Tepperman & Curtis, 1995; Vermunt, Spaans, & Zorge, 1989). The SWLS, a 5-item measure of subjective well-being that uses a 7-point Likert-type scale, is one of the most widely used measures of life satisfaction and has been found to be reliable and valid with diverse populations (for a review see Pavot & Diener, 1993). Concurrent and divergent validity for the scale have been established using undergraduate samples (Diener et ah, 1985; Lucas, Diener, & Suh, 1996). Correlations between the SWLS and other measures of life satisfaction and subjective well-being in U.S. samples have ranged from .35 to .82 (Pavot & Diener, 1993). Bai, Wu, Zheng, and Ren (2011) found high internal consistency, a one-factor structure, strict invariance across gender, and partial strong invariance across age, income, and residential region using a nationally representative sample of 4,795 participants in China. The Chinese version of the SWLS has also been extensively studied with Taiwanese samples and has shown factorial invariance across gender (Wu & Yao, 2006) and longitudinal invariance (Wu, Chen, & Tsai, 2009). The Cronbach alphas have ranged from .80 to .89, and temporal stability coefficients from .64 to .84 for U.S. samples (Diener et ah, 1985; Pavot & Diener, 1993; Lucas et ah, 1996). In this study, the Cronbach alphas were .89 for the Taiwanese sample and .81 for the U.S. sample.

Statistical Methods

In order to test hypotheses 1, 2, and 4 (H1, H2, H4), a series of ANOVAs were conducted to test for differences in overall coping resources, perceived stress, and life satisfaction. The between-subjects factors were gender and country. The dependent variables were the CRIS-CRE, PSS, and SWLS. To guard against Type 1 error, a Bonferroni correction was made to the level of significance (.05/3 = .17). Significant ANOVAs were followed up by Tukey post-hoc tests to evaluate the four pairwise differences among the means for the groups (Taiwanese women, Taiwanese men, U.S. women, U.S. men). As suggested by Haase, Ellis, and Ladany (1989), measures of magnitude of effect were calculated using Wolf's equation for group differences (1986). Effect sizes were presented as either Cohen's d or R2 and designated as small (.20, .02), medium (.50, .15), or large (.80, .35; Cohen, 1988, 1992). With regard to hypothesis 3 (H3), to investigate whether CRIS-CRE and PSS predicted SWLS differently for the four groups, a series of hierarchical regression analyses with an alpha set at .05 was conducted.

Lastly, to investigate hypothesis five (H5), a bootstrapping approach (Preacher & Hayes, 2004) was used to assess the effects of CRIS-CRE on SWLS indirectly through PSS. The SPSS macro PROCESS (Hayes, 2013) was used to calculate these analyses. The term ab represents the indirect effect of the independent variable (CRIS-CRE) on the dependent variable (SWLS); it is defined as the product of the independent variable to mediator (i.e., the a path) and the mediator to the dependent variable (i.e., the b path). This results in the ab.

Many researchers still use the Baron and Kenny (1986) multistep procedure to test mediation. This procedure, however, has significant limitations (see Hayes, 2009, for an excellent discussion). For example, Baron and Kenny (1986) suggested that the first step in the analysis should be to demonstrate that the direct effect from the independent to the outcome variable is significant. This has been subject to significant criticism by more recent researchers who no longer suggest the need to demonstrate that the independent variable has a significant relationship with the outcome variable (see Hayes, 2009). Based on these criticisms, Kenny, Kashy, and Bolger (1998) revised their procedures for testing mediation and removed this first step. As a result, statistical tests of the indirect effect of the ab path, such as the Sobel Test (Sobel, 1982), are recommended.

Preacher and Hayes (2008) argued that the Sobel Test is more powerful than the procedure suggested by Baron and Kenny (1986); however, the Sobel Test also suffers from several limitations. The main limitations are the assumption that the indirect effect ab is normally distributed (even if a and b are normally distributed), increased Type I error rates, and low statistical power. To avoid these issues, Hayes (2009) recommends bootstrapping.

Bootstrapping is a nonparametric approach that does not assume that predictors are normally distributed. It has been shown to have significantly better power than other methods (e.g., Baron and Kenny, 1986; Sobel Test) and is better suited for use with smaller sample sizes (Hayes, 2009). Bootstrapping takes a large number of samples from the data of the same size as the original, sampling with replacement (a case that appears only once in the original dataset may appear multiple times in a bootstrapped dataset). For each sample, the indirect effect is calculated. Hayes (2013) recommended a minimum of 10,000 bootstrap samples. In this study, the point estimate of the indirect effect would equal the average path value computed over the 10,000 samples. Bootstrapped confidence intervals (95% CIs) would be created with the indirect effect estimates sorted from lowest to highest. The lower limit of the 95% CI is the 250th score and the upper limit is the 9,760th score. The indirect effect is significant when zero is not located in the 95% CIs.


A series of 2x2 chi-square analyses were conducted to examine frequencies between country and gender and between country and marital status (married vs. not married). The results revealed significant differences between country and both gender, X2(l, N = 885) = 4.69, p < .05, and marital status, X2(l, N = 885) = 119.98, p < .001. Age was also significantly correlated with both PSS (r -.17, p < .001) and CRIS-CRE (r .10, p < .01). As a result of these differences, both age and marital status were co-varied when testing hypotheses.

For several of the measures the correlations were statistically significant. For the Taiwanese sample, the CRIS-CRE, PSS, and SWLS were found to have small to moderate intercorrelations. The CRIS-CRE was negatively correlated with the PSS (r = -.36, p < .001) and positively correlated with the SWLS (r = .29, p < .001). The PSS was negatively correlated with the SWLS (r = -.42, p < .001). For the U.S. sample, the CRIS-CRE, PSS, and SWLS were found to have moderate intercorrelations. The CRIS-CRE was negatively correlated with the PSS (r = -.63, p < .001) and positively correlated with the SWLS (r = .41, p < .001). The PSS was negatively correlated with the SWLS (r = -.49, p < .001).

A series of ANOVAs were conducted to test for differences in coping resources (H1), perceived stress (H2), and life satisfaction (H4) for both the main effects and the gender and country interaction. With regard to the main effect for country, only life satisfaction (F (1, 885) = 43.47, p < .001) was significant. No significant main effects were found for gender on any of the three scales (p values ranged from .10 to .32). With regard to the interaction (country x gender), only life satisfaction was significant, (F (3, 881) = 17.32, p < .001. Although U.S. men and women did not differ significantly in respect to life satisfaction, both had significantly higher levels of life satisfaction than Taiwanese men (Cohen's d = .55 for U.S. men and .44 for women) and Taiwanese women (Cohen's d = .57 for U.S. men and .46 for women). Taiwanese men and women were not significantly different from each other.

To address H3, a series of regression analyses were conducted for each gender within country. The results analyses are presented in Table 2. All prediction models entered age and marital status as covariates as a first block. PSS and CRIS-CRE were entered next as predictors. Effect sizes ranged from medium to large in magnitude. The model for Taiwanese men accounted for the most variance in SWLS scores, followed by U.S. women, U.S. men, and Taiwanese women. Consequently, the suggestion of H4 that these variables would contribute differently in magnitude to the prediction of life satisfaction was supported.

Next, a bootstrapping procedure was used to test H5, to investigate whether perceived stress mediated the relationship between coping resources and life satisfaction for each gender in each country. The results of the analysis (see Table 3) showed that coping resources had a significant indirect effect through perceived stress for all four groups, with a 95% BCa confidence interval that did not include zero.


Like the outcomes of previous studies comparing U.S. college students to college students from other countries (e.g., Matheny et ah, 2002, 2008) as well as the outcomes of a study of resilience in youth from 11 countries (Ungar et ah, 2007), our results revealed no significant differences in overall coping resources (CRIS-CRE) between any of the four groups. Nor were there significant differences among the Taiwanese and U.S. gender groups regarding the perceived stressfulness of their lives (i.e., the extent to which they viewed nonspecific events as being stressful, unpredictable, and uncontrollable). Previous studies comparing U.S. students with students from Turkey (Matheny et ah, 2002) and Mexico (Matheny et ah, 2008) likewise had found no significant differences in perceived stress based on gender. This was somewhat surprising given that gender differences in perceived stress had been found in some previous studies (e.g., Hall et al., 2006; Roxburgh, 1996; Tamres et al., 2002; Tytherleigh et al., 2007). Women had typically reported experiencing more stressors than men, and they tended to rate the stressors as being more serious.

The gender by country groups in this study did differ significantly in reported life satisfaction. While U.S. men and women did not differ significantly from one another, their life satisfaction mean scores were significantly higher than those of both Taiwanese men and women. The life satisfaction scores of Taiwanese women and Taiwanese men were not significantly different. This finding differs from the findings of Foley, Matheny, and Curlette (2008) in a study in mainland China, which found that women reported higher life satisfaction than men. Using the Basic Adlerian Scales for Interpersonal Success-Adult Form (Wheeler, Kern, & Curlette, 1993), women also reported a greater sense of entitlement, i.e., holding the belief that one is special and entitled to more attention (Curlette, Wheeler, & Kern, 1997). For these Chinese women, entitlement was a strong contributor to the prediction of life satisfaction. Perhaps the significant political, economic, and demographic differences between Taiwan and mainland China are a factor in explaining these differences in results.

In this study, perceived stress (PSS) and overall coping resource effectiveness (CRIS-CRE) were useful as predictors of life satisfaction for students of both genders in both countries. The amount of variance explained in SWLS scores was 20% to 34% across groups. PSS was a significant predictor variable for each of the prediction models. The significant role of perceived stress in predicting life satisfaction has been noted in previous studies of international students (Matheny et al., 2002, 2008). The results of the current study suggest that coping resources act as a buffer against stressful life events (Curlette et al., 2006). One coping resource in particular, social support, has been significantly related to lower stress and increased life satisfaction among other international students (Demakis & McAdams, 1994; Solberg & Villarreal, 1997).

Perceived stress mediated the relationship between coping resources and life satisfaction in all four models. Although coping resource effectiveness was correlated positively with life satisfaction, the relationship was mediated by the perceived stressfulness of one's life circumstances. As a result, the influence of coping resources on life satisfaction seems largely to be determined by its success in lowering perceived stress. These results suggest that poorly resourced individuals are more likely to experience more stressful life situations, which may lead to lower life satisfaction. These results offer additional support for Lazarus and Folkman's Transactional Model of Stress (1984) in that more resources appeared to decrease the likelihood of life events being considered stressful. This outcome suggests the critical importance of helping clients to build coping resources as a way of lowering stress and heightening life satisfaction.

Implications for Counselors

The results of this study have useful implications for counselors working with U.S. and Taiwanese college students. Eirst, since coping resources and levels of perceived stress are major influences on life satisfaction, counselors might do well to assess these variables in order to inform treatment. The PSS (Cohen et al., 1983) and the CRIS (Matheny et al., 1987) are two instruments that allow for measurement of not only stress but multiple individual coping resources. Without careful assessment, counselors may inadvertently overlook valuable internal and external resources that are already available to college students experiencing distress; consequently, where appropriate counselors should validate the resources college students already have. Consistent with the Transactional Model of Stress (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984), acknowledging and reinforcing these resources may lower the number of events that are perceived to be stressful and in this way contribute to college student life satisfaction. Counselors who have this information may also be able to facilitate discussions about where students need to focus attention in increasing coping resources and measuring the progress they make during counseling.

Although the Transactional Model of Stress (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) was initially validated mainly with U.S. populations, empirical research has repeatedly supported the cross-cultural validity of the theory. As a result, counselors can assume the universality of the theory when choosing potential culturally relevant interventions for college students. According to this theory, stress is likely to arise from an imbalance between perceived demands and perceived resources for coping with the demands. Consequently, adequate coping resources should lower the likelihood that events will be perceived as stressful. This in turn appears to increase overall life satisfaction. Increasing the amount and use of effective coping resources is a recommendation consistent with the findings of other studies. For instance, Chou, Chao, Yang, Yeh, and Lee (2011), studying a sample of mainland Chinese students studying in Taiwan before entering college, found that increased levels of adaptive coping were related to students being less likely to become depressed than students with lower levels of coping. The results suggest that counselors should target most of their interventions with clients to building up coping strategies and resources while also teaching clients strategies they may not be familiar with.

Another important implication for counselors is the finding that perceived stress mediated the relationship between coping resources and life satisfaction. Flow effectively coping resources influence life satisfaction depends on the degree to which clients view their life situation as being fraught with loss, harm, or the threat of loss or harm. It is primarily when the perception of stress is high that possession of rich coping resources has its greatest positive effect on life satisfaction. Knowing that coping resources act as a buffer to stress, counselors should formulate interventions to specifically help college students to build coping resources. One example counselors could use was reported by Steinhardt and Dolbier (2008). Their four-week intervention study resulted in higher resilience scores and problem-based coping strategies and lower avoidant coping strategies.

Limitations and Future Directions

Although the data in this cross-cultural study were based on a large sample, certain limitations should be taken into consideration. First, due to the cross-sectional design, directional hypotheses should be viewed with caution, although they can be viewed through the theoretical perspective of the Transactional Model of Stress. Future researchers should consider using longitudinal designs to make more robust claims about directionality. Another limitation is the sole reliance on self-reporting; elements of social comparison in the self-ratings may have affected results. Future researchers may want to account for social desirability in their research design.

While the psychometrics of both Chinese versions of the PSS and SWLS have been investigated, there have been no empirical investigations of the psychometrics of the CRIS with Taiwanese populations. While this is a common critique of much of the cross-cultural research published to date, the CRIS has been translated and used in studies with different populations (e.g., Turkish, Russian, and Mexican students) and has shown high internal consistency with all these samples. Future researchers should test the factorial invariance of the CRIS using a Taiwanese college student population to better demonstrate the construct validity of the instrument.

Lastly, the current study targeted the perceptions of stress, coping resources, and life satisfaction of Taiwanese and U.S. college students in their native countries. It would be of interest to compare perceived stress, coping resources, and life satisfaction of Taiwanese college students studying in the U.S. with those studying in Taiwanese colleges to gain insight into the impact of U.S. culture.


This study examined the connection between stress, coping resources, and life satisfaction in a multinational sample of U.S. and Taiwanese college students. It also investigated the likelihood that perceived stress would mediate the relationship between coping resources and life satisfaction. Indeed, perceived stress did mediate the relationship in both genders and countries. This study offers support for the concept that both lowering perceived stress and increasing coping resources would contribute substantially to the client's sense of life satisfaction.

doi: 10.17744/mehc.37.3.04


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Philip B. Gnilka is affiliated with DePaul University, Jeffrey S. Ashby and Kenneth B. Matheny with Georgia State University, Y. Barry Chung with Indiana University, and Yuhsuan Chang with Yuan Ze University. Correspondence about this article should be addressed to Philip B. Gnilka, Department of Counseling and Special Education. DePaul University. 2247 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60614. Email:
Table 1. Means and Tests of Significant Differences on
PSS, SWLS, and CRIS-CRE for U.S. and Taiwan Students

Scale          U.S. Male           U.S. Female

             M           SD       M           SD

PSS        25.21        8.77    26.94        8.01
SWLS *     22.54 (1)    6.14    21.93 (1)    6.61
CRIS-CRE   65.59       14.07    62.28       15.98

Scale       Taiwanese Male       Taiwanese Female

             M           SD       M           SD

PSS        25.40        7.04    25.59        6.81
SWLS *     18.86 (2)    7.31    18.87 (2)    6.65
CRIS-CRE   62.46       17.53    61.65       14.88

Note. * denotes significant ANOVA at p = .017 (.05/3). Groups
with the same superscript numbers lack significant differences
according to statistical comparison of cell means using
Bonferroni post hoc tests.

Table 2. Hierarchical Regression Analysis
Predicting Satisfaction with Life

                                                 Coefficient   t Value
               Predictor                           (a) for       for
Category       Variable           R   [R.sup.2]  Final Model    Model

United States  Age                                   -.11      -1.95 *

Female         Marital status                        -.01      -0.11
               Perceived stress                      -.49      -7.26 *
               CRIS-CRE          .58     .34          .13       1.94

United States  Age                                    .00       0.05

Male           Marital status                        -.02      -0.25
               Perceived stress                      -.32      -3.02 *
               CRIS-CRE          .45     .20          .18       1.75

Taiwan         Age                                    .02       0.29

Female         Marital status                         .10       1.75
               Perceived stress                      -.33      -6.69 *
               CRIS-CRE          .42     .17          .11       2.20 *

Taiwan         Age                                    .18       1.43

Male           Marital status                         .10       0.79
               Perceived stress                      -.37      -4.39 *
               CRIS-CRE          .62     .39          .21       2.49 *

(a) Values for standardized coefficients, t values, and p
values are taken from the last step in the model. * p < .05

Table 3. Mediation Analysis Results for Satisfaction with Life

Sample            Path/effect                     B     SE       B

U.S. Female
[R.sup.2] = .34   C                              0.18   .02    .45 ***
F(4,258) =        a (CRE [right arrow] PSS)     -0.32   .02   -.65 ***
32.93 ***         b (PSS [right arrow] SWLS)    -0.40   .06   - 49
                  c' (CRE [right arrow] SWLS)    0.05   .03    .13
                  a X b                          0.13   .02    .32 *

U.S. Male
[R.sup.2] = .20   C                              0.16   .04    .36 ***
F(4, 109) =       a (CRE [right arrow] PSS)     -0.34   .05   -.55 ***
6.86 ***          b (PSS [right arrow] SWLS)    -0.22   .07   -.32 **
                  c' (CRE [right arrow] SWLS)    0.08   .05    .18
                  a X b                          0.08   .03    .18 *

Taiwan Female
[R.sup.2] = .17   C                              0.09   .02    .21 ***
F (4, 382) =      a (CRE [right arrow] PSS)     -0.14   .02    .31 ***
19.89 ***         b (PSS [right arrow] SWLS)    -0.33   .05   -.33 ***
                  c' (CRE [right arrow] SWLS)    0.05   .02    .11 *
                  a X b                          0.04   .02    .10 *

Taiwan Male
[R.sup.2] = .39   C                              0.16   .03    .38 ***
F (4, 115) =      a (CRE [right arrow] PSS)     -0.18   .03   - 45
18.32 ***         b (PSS [right arrow] SWLS)    -0.38   .09   -.37 ***
                  c' (CRE [right arrow] SWLS)    0.09   .04    .21 **
                  a X b                          0.07   .02    .17 *

Sample            Path/effect                      95% CI

U.S. Female
[R.sup.2] = .34   C
F(4,258) =        a (CRE [right arrow] PSS)
32.93 ***         b (PSS [right arrow] SWLS)
                  c' (CRE [right arrow] SWLS)
                  a X b                         .0899,. 1718

U.S. Male
[R.sup.2] = .20   C
F(4, 109) =       a (CRE [right arrow] PSS)
6.86 ***          b (PSS [right arrow] SWLS)
                  c' (CRE [right arrow] SWLS)
                  a X b                         .0296,. 1376

Taiwan Female
[R.sup.2] = .17   C
F (4, 382) =      a (CRE [right arrow] PSS)
19.89 ***         b (PSS [right arrow] SWLS)
                  c' (CRE [right arrow] SWLS)
                  a X b                         .0253, .0702

Taiwan Male
[R.sup.2] = .39   C
F (4, 115) =      a (CRE [right arrow] PSS)
18.32 ***         b (PSS [right arrow] SWLS)
                  c' (CRE [right arrow] SWLS)
                  a X b                         .0430,. 1416

Note. CRE = CRIS-CRE score; PSS = Perceived Stress Scale; SWLS =
Satisfaction with Life Scale. For paths, C = total effect of
independent variable (IV) on dependent variable (DV); a = IV to
mediator; b = direct effect of mediator on DV c' = direct effect
of IV on DV; a X b = indirect effect of IV on DV through
mediator. CI = bias corrected and accelerated confidence
interval. Age and marital status were covaried in the analyses.
With regard to the Taiwanese female sample, marital status was
left out of the model because all reporting being married.

* p < .05, ** p < .025, *** p < .001.
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Title Annotation:RESEARCH
Author:Gnilka, Philip B.; Ashby, Jeffrey S.; Matheny, Kenneth B.; Chung, Y. Barry; Chang, Yuhsuan
Publication:Journal of Mental Health Counseling
Geographic Code:9TAIW
Date:Jul 1, 2015
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