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Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention 2005 5(1):57-74; doi:10.1093/brief-treatment/mhi008
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Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention Vol. 5 No. 1, © Oxford University Press 2005; all rights reserved.

Original Article

Stress and Coping Strategies in Runaway Youths: An Application of Concept Mapping

   Jongserl Chun, PhD
   David W. Springer, PhD

From the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin

Contact author: Jongserl Chun, The University of Texas at Austin, School of Social Work, 1 University Station D3500, Austin, Texas 78712. E-mail: bellsnow{at}

The number of runaway adolescents has continued to increase in recent years. Despite the growth and pervasive problems of high levels of stress and low levels of positive coping strategies to deal with this stress, scant research has been devoted to stress and coping among this population. This study is the first of its kind to explore stressors and coping strategies of runaway youths. Participants were male and female runaway adolescents (N = 53) living in a runaway shelter in Austin, Texas. Concept mapping, a mixed-method approach, was used to collect, organize, and interpret qualitative data through quantitative techniques. Concept mapping revealed six major clusters of stressors: disrespect, living stability, anxiety, school, friends, and family. Five major coping strategies emerged as well: relaxation, social support, going out, hobbies/interests, and escaping. The conceptual framework can be utilized in planning and developing crisis assessment and interventions with runaway youths experiencing high levels of stress.

KEY WORDS: runaway youth, stress, coping, concept mapping

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