Although the goodness-of-fit hypothesis (GOFH) is one of the most important theories in research about the effect of coping on distress related to different stressful situations, there has been a mixed response to it in the literature. The present study examined whether the effect of the sociocultural context in stressful situations is consistent with the GOFH. The study investigated sociocultural beliefs about the appropriateness of different coping strategies in a given group as the sociocultural context. Japanese employees (N = 1,156) of an information technology company reported their appraisal of stressors' controllability, the coping strategies they employed for the stressors, their sociocultural beliefs about coping strategies, and their psychological distress in response to the stressors. The GOFH was supported only for problem-focused coping with task stressors and not for interpersonal stressors. The applicability of the GOFH differed by sociocultural beliefs about coping, namely an appraisal of what coworkers might think about the appropriateness of the coping method. These results suggest that it is important for managing stress to consider the sociocultural context as well as the GOFH.
ASJC Scopus subject areas