The purpose of this study was to examine whether the relationship between psychological distress and coping strategies that consider sociocultural beliefs about coping differs depending on the types of coping strategies and the motivation behind their choice. We considered the sociocultural beliefs about coping to be equivalent to the individual's appraisal of the group's acceptance of their coping strategy (i.e., appraisal of coping acceptability). Japanese employees (n = 737; 536 male and 201 female individuals; mean age 38.8 years, SD = 11.0) of an information technology company participated in the study. The results showed that, regardless of the type of coping strategy (i.e., problem-focused, emotion-focused, or avoidant coping), greater use of coping strategies presumed to be in line with sociocultural beliefs was related to lower psychological distress for task stressors, whereas greater use of problem-focused coping presumed to be in line with sociocultural beliefs was related to lower psychological distress for interpersonal stressors. The motivation for employing the chosen coping strategy was significantly related to psychological distress for task stressors, but not for interpersonal stressors. Although there were some significant interactions between the use of coping strategies, presumed being in line with sociocultural beliefs, and the motivation behind that choice, the interaction effect was small. These results suggest that the motivation for using a chosen coping strategy can affect the effectiveness of coping strategies, independent from the selective use of coping strategies made in consideration of sociocultural beliefs.
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