Coping skills and personality traits in Third World humanitarian aid workers: a First World comparison

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Doyle, Conor
Issue Date
BA in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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The aim of this quantitative study was to look at four hypotheses; to see if aid workers in the Third world had different health behaviours compared to their colleagues in Ireland; that they are better able to cope with emotional stress than their colleagues in Ireland; that they had better coping skills than their colleagues in Ireland; and last, that they had developed particular types of personality traits that help them deal with their work. The study also looked at gender differences and the role age and length of service played. Thirty nine participants completed an emailed questionnaire: 21 of the participants (9 male and 12 female) worked in the head office of an international aid agency in Dublin and 18 of the participants (8 male and 10 female) worked in the field for the same aid agency. A regression analysis was conducted and seven variables we found to be significant. Variance effects ranged from 21 % to 31 %. Results indicated that both emotional and approach coping styles were favored by Field employees. Recommendations for further research would be to conduct a field study to investigate the hypotheses further.