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Table of Contents
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 68-72

Perceived stress and level of coping strategies adopted by working women during current COVID-19 pandemic situation

1 Department of Psychiatric, Amity College of Nursing, Amity University, Gurgaon, Haryana, India
2 Department of Psychiatric, University College of Nursing, BFUHS, Faridkot, Punjab, India

Date of Submission10-Jan-2021
Date of Decision11-Mar-2021
Date of Acceptance27-Mar-2021
Date of Web Publication21-Dec-2021

Correspondence Address:
Ms. Monica Banik
Amity College of Nursing, Amity University, Gurgaon, Haryana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/iopn.iopn_7_21

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Background: The outbreak of COVID-19 has created a global health crisis that has had a deep impact on the way we perceive our world and our everyday lives and hence causing a significant negative impact on mental health. The uncertainty and low predictability of COVID-19 not only threaten people's physical health, but also affect people's mental health, especially in terms of emotions and cognition. Aim: The aim of this study is to assess the level of perceived stress and coping strategies adopted by working women during COVID-19 outbreak. Materials and Methods: An online survey was conducted with a semi-structured questionnaire using nonprobability snowball sampling technique that surveyed 219 individuals through social networking platform. Results: The level of stress was found out to be in severe level but it is also revealed that majority of the women (90.4%) were preoccupied with the thoughts of COVID-19 and reported that they are uncertain about their current situation and about the future. Maximum number of sample (97.7%) revealed that they are unable to cope with the current uncertainty. There was significant association of perceived stress with educational, marital status, and area of living. Conclusion: The study concluded that working women had lot of stress and inadequate coping strategies while dealing with Covid-19 situation. Women should be taught to adapt more coping strategies to deal with this situation.

Keywords: Coping strategies, COVID-19, pandemic, perceived stress, working women

How to cite this article:
Banik M, Jacob J, Maheshwari SK. Perceived stress and level of coping strategies adopted by working women during current COVID-19 pandemic situation. Indian J Psy Nsg 2021;18:68-72

How to cite this URL:
Banik M, Jacob J, Maheshwari SK. Perceived stress and level of coping strategies adopted by working women during current COVID-19 pandemic situation. Indian J Psy Nsg [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Aug 15];18:68-72. Available from: https://www.ijpn.in/text.asp?2021/18/2/68/332802

  Introduction Top

This sudden outbreak of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) has created a global health catastrophe that has had a deep impact on the way we perceive our world and our everyday lives. Not only the rate of contagion and patterns of transmission threatens our sense of agency, but the safety measures put in place to contain the spread of the virus also require social distancing by refraining from doing what is inherently human, which is to find solace in the company of others.[1]

The COVID-19 crisis started in December 2019 and quickly spread to more than 210 countries and territories by March 2020. Due to its dangerous effects on human health, it is also influencing mental health by increasing levels of anxiety, stress, and worry among health professionals, and the general public.[2]

Stress is the wear and tear that life causes on the body (Selye, 1956).[3] It occurs when a person has difficulty dealing with life situations, problems, and goals. Every person handles stress differently: One person can thrive in a situation that creates great distress for another. For example, many people view public speaking as scary, but for teachers and actors, it is an everyday, enjoyable experience. Marriage, children, airplanes, snakes, a new job, a new school, and leaving home are examples of stress-causing events.

The World Health Organization as well as the international mental health associations have warned that the current COVID-19 pandemic will lead to a drastic increase of stress-related conditions and mental health issues globally.[4] In fact, emerging reports have been documenting an increase of stress-related symptoms, anxiety and depression especially among vulnerable populations such as socially and economically disadvantaged people, chronically, and mentally ill populations.[5],[6] In addition, this condition may add severity to defeatist prognoses of physical as well as mental diseases with adjunctive difficulty in accessing health services.[4],[7] For these reasons, psychological support and crisis interventions should be promoted to contrast the effects of the pandemic.[5] Psychological support should be offered to vulnerable subjects, like elderly person, women and healthcare workers as well as to general population. Moreover, advices to the general population on how to cope with subjective stress during the pandemic may be helpful.[5]

This survey was aimed to investigate the level of stress perceived by the working women during the current COVID-19 global pandemic.

The assessment of COVID-19 related stresses and coping strategy are a paramount at several levels. The finding will be used to give appropriate intervention of COVID-19 related stresses and coping strategy, it will provide sufficient data for any concerning body such as health professionals, policy makers, and planers in advising the most vulnerable population for example women those who are working at the same time taking care of family for prevention and control of COVID-19 physiological and psychological impacts timely and appropriately.[8]

Globally, the battle against physiological and psychological impact of COVID-19 is still continuing. Some unprecedented measures have been adopted to control the COVID-19 transmission in all parts of Ethiopia, including the suspension of public transportation, the closing of public spaces, close management of communities, and isolation and care for infected people and suspected cases. The global mental health issues related to coronavirus disease outbreak may evolve into long-lasting health problems, isolation and taint; the global health intervention should be employed to address psychosocial stressors, particularly related to the use of isolation/quarantine, fear, and vulnerability among the general population like elder and those who have chronic disease.[9]

  Materials and Methods Top

A quantitative, nonexperimental, descriptive, cross-sectional survey research approach was used to assess the level of perceived stress and coping strategies among working women during COVID-19 pandemic. A Snowball sampling technique was used. An online semi-structured questionnaire was developed by using Google forms. The link of the questionnaire was sent through E-mails, WhatsApp, and other social media to the contacts of the investigators. The participants were encouraged to participate in the survey also to share with as many people as possible. Thus, the link was forwarded to people apart from the first point of contact and so on. As they receive the form by clicking the link, the participants got auto directed to the information about the study and informed consent. First they have given their consent for the survey and then filled the demographic variables. Afterwards, a set of several questions appeared sequentially, which the participants were to answer. Participants with access to the internet could participate in the study. Participants with age 18 years and above, able to understand English and willing to give informed consent were included. The data collection was initiated on May 5, 2020, and closed on June 7, 2020. We were able to collect 219 responses from various state of India.

Following tools were used to measure variable under study:

Socio demographic data sheet

It is a self-administered tool prepared by the investigators and used to measure the socio demographic profile of working women. It consists of 7 items which are age, educational qualification, marital status, types of family, area of living, profession, monthly family income, and any previous history of stress. Total administration time for this tool was approximately 3–5 min. Content validity of the tool is determined by expert in the field of psychiatry, psychology, and nursing, respectively. Reliability was done by test-retest method and it was found r = 0.9.

Perceived stress scale 10-item version

The perceived stress scale-10 (PSS-10) ten-item rating scale to assess the respondents' perceived stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This scale was originally compiled as a global measure of stress[10] and the revised Chinese version had been demonstrated to have good reliability and validity[11] Items are rated from 0 (never) to 4 (very often). Participants were asked to respond according to their feelings or thoughts of the COVID-19 for the past month. A formal approval has been taken through E-mail from the author to use PSS10 scale. The PSS10 demonstrated good internal consistency (α = 0.801) in the current sample.

Level of coping strategies

It is a self-administered questionnaire with 12 items. The tool was validated and approved by panel of research expert in the field of psychiatry. The level of coping strategies includes two dimensions, i.e., adequate and inadequate coping styles. The individual coping tendency is calculated by the standard score of adequate coping minus the standard score of inadequate coping. If the value is >0, indicates that the individuals' coping tendency is mostly adequate (e.g., "asking friends and family for advice"); if the value is <0, indicates that the individual mainly uses inadequate coping strategy (e.g., "trying to forget the whole thing what happened in the past"). In our study, the internal consistency coefficients of the adequate and inadequate coping style subscale were 0.797 and 0.637, respectively.

The data were analyzed by Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 21. The P < 0.05 level was established as a criterion of statistical significance for all the statistical procedures performed. Appropriate descriptive and inferential statistics were employed to analyze data.

  Results Top

Sociodemographic profile

Mean age of the working women was 25.904 years, which depicts that maximum of working women were from the average age group of 25 years. Maximum working women were graduate that is 50.9%. Out of all maximum number of working women were unmarried (45.45%). The highest number of working women (69.54%) are from nuclear family and average monthly income of their family is 59 thousands approximately. Among all the working women (63.63%) are living in the developed area. Maximum of working women (69.54%) are from medical sector. Out of all majorities (87.72%) of the working women have no previous history of stress.

[Table 1] depicts that maximum respondents (90.4%) had sever level of stress, whereas (7.3%) had moderate level of stress and only (2.3%) had mild level of stress who needed consultation.
Table 1: Frequency and percentage distribution of the subjects as per their level of perceived stress (n=219)

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[Table 2] depicts that the maximum respondents were inadequate in coping with the perceived stress which is 97.7% out of 219 participants. [Table 3] reveals that the level of stress has no significant association with education, marital status, and area where working women were living.
Table 2: Frequency and percentage distribution of subjects as per their level of coping strategies (n=219)

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Table 3: Frequency and percentage distribution of level of perceived stress among demographic variables (n=219)

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[Table 4] depicts that coping strategies has no significant association with education, marital status, and area where working women were living.
Table 4: Frequency and percentage distribution of demographic variables with coping strategies (n=219)

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  Discussion Top

The study has assessed the level of perceived stress due to COVID-19 among general population, where majority (90.4%) of the respondents had severe level of perceived stress, who needed consultation, thus it was concluded that majority of the population were dealing with sever level of stress. Data also revealed that the maximum respondents were inadequate in coping with the perceived level of stress which is 97.7%.

These findings were supported by Yan et al. (2021)[12] who conducted a study on the relationship between perceived stress and emotional distress during the COVID-19 outbreak to investigate the relationship between perceived stress and emotional distress during the initial outbreak. Results showed that higher perceived stress was associated with more emotional distress including depression, fear, compulsion-anxiety, neurasthenia, and hypochondria. Boredom proneness significantly and positively mediated the relationship between perceived stress and emotional distress. Moreover, coping style moderated the stress-emotional distress relationship, i.e., individuals who mainly adopted positive coping strategies suffered fewer symptoms of depression, compulsion-anxiety, and neurasthenia under stress, while negative coping strategies aggravated emotional distress. These results from the present study provide practical value for mental health intervention during the emergent public health events.

These findings were supported by Girma and Ayalew (2020)[8] who conducted a study on COVID-19-related stress and coping strategies among adults with chronic disease to determine COVID-19 related stress and coping strategies among adults with chronic disease. Around 613 participants of 96% response rate were participated. About 68.4% were moderately stressed; low stress was 17.8% and severe stress was 13.9%. COVID-19 related perceived stress score were positively associated with coping strategies types of such as sell-distraction, active coping, denial, emotional support, behavioral disengagement, venting, and use of instrument, positive reframing, self-blaming, planning, humoring and religion. The most preferable types of coping strategies were religious, instrumental and active coping strategies and while the least used were substance used.

These findings were supported by Roy et al.,[13] who conducted a study on the general population to assess the knowledge, attitude, and anxiety during COVID-19 and found out that during this coronavirus pandemic, most of the educated people and health professionals are aware of this infection, possible preventive measures, the importance of social distancing and government initiatives were taken to limit the spread of infection. However, there are increased worries and apprehensions among the public regarding acquiring the COVID-19 disease. People have higher perceived needs to deal with their mental health difficulties.

These findings were supported by Daniel[14] who conducted a study on Education and COVID-19 pandemic and stated that The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives of students in different ways, depending not only on their level and course of study but also on the point they have reached in their programs. Those coming to the end of one phase of their education and moving on to another, such as those transitioning from school to tertiary education, or from tertiary education to employment, face particular challenges. They will not be able to complete their school curriculum and assessment in the normal way and in many cases; they have been torn away from their social group almost overnight. Students who make the transition to tertiary education later this year are unlikely to take up offers to sit their year-end school exams. Other studies also support these findings.

  Conclusion Top

Finding of the study gives and overview that the maximum number of working women has suffered from severe perceived stress due to COVID-19 pandemic. The study concludes that, most of the participants have suffered from severe perceived stress due to locked down crisis and they have adopt various technique to cope with those stress.

Further researches can be done to investigate the sociocultural circumstances that may create obstacles or enhance the individual to be more positive to adapt different coping level of strategies. Also similar study can be planned to assess the effectiveness of various coping strategies applied by the nurses or other health-care individual during any sudden outbreak while dealing with huge amount of work load under so much of pressure.

Implications and recommendations

Women should be taught more coping strategies to adapt and develop different type of psychotherapy, relaxing therapy and meditation and exercise during daily routine can be helpful to reduce the level of stress. Attending online different type of classes or watching motivational video can be a good practice too to get relieve from current stress. Health-care professionals should be taught and trained about the different type of therapies through which they can help the people surrounding to them and those who needs help.

We suggest mental health services to provide a web-based support to the general population in order to contrast the psychological impact of the pandemic. This approach may improve the accessibility to mental health-care services in India especially in times of social distancing.


Present study was limited to group of working women. Hence, studies should be conducted on large sample size with different variables on different population and study may be conducted to assess relationship between the level of perceived stress and coping strategies due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Ethical clearance

Ethical clearance was taken from Amity University of Haryana, to carry out the study.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

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Qiu J, Shen B, Zhao M, Wang Z, Xie B, Xu Y. A nationwide survey of psychological distress among Chinese people in the COVID-19 epidemic: Implications and policy recommendations. Gen Psychiatr 2020;33:e100213.  Back to cited text no. 2
Kaufman KR, Petkova E, Bhui KS, Schulze TG. A global needs assessment in times of a global crisis: World psychiatry response to the COVID-19 pandemic. BJPsych Open 2020;6:e48.  Back to cited text no. 4
Bao Y, Sun Y, Meng S, Shi J, Lu L. 2019-nCoV epidemic: Address mental health care to empower society. Lancet 2020;395:e37-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
Jones NM, Thompson RR, Schetter CD, Silver RC. Distress and rumor exposure on social media during a campus lockdown. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2017;114:11663-8.  Back to cited text no. 6
Kim YG, Moon H, Kim SY, Lee YH, Jeong DW, Kim K, et al. Inevitable isolation and the change of stress markers in hemodialysis patients during the 2015 MERS-CoV outbreak in Korea. Sci Rep 2019;9:5676.  Back to cited text no. 7
Girma A, Ayalew E. COVID-19 Related Stress and Coping Strategies among Adults with Chronic Disease in Southwest Ethiopia; 2020. Available from: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.08.14.20174318v1.full.pdf.  Back to cited text no. 8
Torales J, O'Higgins M, Castaldelli-Maia JM, Ventriglio A. The outbreak of COVID-19 Coronavirus and its impact on global mental health. Int J Soc Psychiatry 2020;66:317-20.  Back to cited text no. 9
Cohen S, Kamarck T, Mermelstein R. A global measure of perceived stress. J Health Soc Behav 1983;24:385-96.  Back to cited text no. 10
Yang TZ, Huang HT. An epidemiological study on stress among urban residents in social transition period. Zhonghua Liu Xing Bing Xue Za Zhi 2003;24:760.  Back to cited text no. 11
Yan L, Gan Y, Ding X, Wu J, Duan X. The relationship between perceived stress and emotional distress during the COVID-19 outbreak: Effects of boredom proneness and coping style. J Anxiety Disord 2021;77:102328.  Back to cited text no. 12
Roy D, Tripthy S, Kar SK, Sharma N, Verma SK, Kaushal V. Study of knowledge, anxiety and perceived mental health care need. Asian J Psychiatr 2020;51:102083.  Back to cited text no. 13
Daniel SJ. Education and the COVID-19 pandemic. Prospects (Paris) 2020;17:1-6. doi: 10.1007/s11125-020-09464-3.  Back to cited text no. 14


  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]


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