Major Concept in Vulnerable Population

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Coping has been the topic of hundreds of studies in recent years. Research indicates that children and adults who have better understanding and knowledge of coping strategies, will experience fewer negative emotional or educational consequences. According to Brian L Mishara PhD, when we encounter a difficult or stressful life situation, we react in various ways to try to make the situation better or to decrease the stress and unpleasant feelings that the situation has created. All such creations may be called coping. He classifies coping strategies as behavioral and emotional. Emotion-focused coping strategies involve anything a person does to feel better or less stressed. This includes, for example, spelling out the problem to a friend, getting drunk, going to the movies, and going shopping. Behavior–focused coping strategies involve all the things a person does to try to change and improve a situation. This includes asking for help or advice from a friend and investing in activities or relationships.

According to statistical data, nationwide 81 percent of students have had more than one drink during their life time. 47.5 percent of students have taken marijuana during their life time. 30 percent of students have been offered and or sold illegal drugs on school property.

The purpose behind analyzing coping strategies and health problem among late adolescence and young adults arise from scientific clues which are supported by series of research studies. One scientific claim addresses the biological development of the brain. Physiologically, the development of the cortex (the frontal region of the brain, which is responsible for judgment, impulse control, and setting priorities) remains immature into late adolescence and maturation of the brain continues through young adulthood. Puberty involves obvious sexual maturation and differentiation. However, more importantly, it involves continued development and maturation of the brain. Therefore, late adolescence and young adults are in a stage of transition to beginning to live, which includes the acceptance of responsibilities and duties. This stage appears stressful and young adults can develop insecurities for not being understood by the rest of the society. Adopting irrational and inappropriate coping strategies, such as using drugs and alcohol, is common among youths who become frustrated and do note have enough cognitive ability to digest the process of being at the particular stage in life. Exposure to drugs and alcohol has the possible consequences of addiction and dependency, which in turn, can lead to dysfunctional lifestyle or even homelessness.

National Health Care for the Homeless Counsel in Examining Service Delivery Adaptation addresses the support system as the window of opportunity during which youths can, with support, develop to their full potential and grow into healthy, responsible, functioning adults who contributes to society. However, without any intervention these youths can face a future of dependency, marginalization and potential long term homelessness.   

The way the concept of coping fits within the model of vulnerability outlined by Flaskerud and Winslow is addressed in an article by Mohammadi entitled, “late adolescence vulnerable population.” The relationship between resource availability and relative risk factors is clear because of the lack of support systems from families due to separation, poverty, domestic violence, death or illnesses. Furthermore, the lack of support from society, evidence in unemployment, poor housing, lack of insurance, and health-related support systems is another contributing factor to this issue. The result is youth experience greater exposure to various risks, including inadequate nutrition, lack of exercise, use of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and other behaviors that contribute to intended and unintended injuries, as addressed by Flaskerud.

Individual coping is one way to deal with difficult circumstances. We ca  hear of examples from successful and creative people who have encountered some difficult challenge in their live and mange to cross over to better circumstances. Not everyone is capable of doing what these remarkable people do on their own. Stories of those who fall through the cracks cannot be heard because no one survives to tell them. I hope all these arguments, together with rational strategies which address how and why this occurs, can bring about change in society so that we can hear more about those who could not make it to this day and inspire those who can have a chance and a desire to live a creative life in a better way.

Ammerman, S.D., Kimmer, R., Menninger, E.T., Tornabene, M., Warf, C. W., & Zeger S. “Homeless Young Adults Age 18-24.” Examining Service Delivery Adaptations. Nashville; National Health care for the Homeless Council, Inc, 2004

Flaslerud, J. H., & Winslow, B. J. (1998). “Conceptualizing Vulnerable Populations Health Related Research.” Nursing Research, 47(2), 69-78. Advance online publication. Retrieved January 30.

Office of National Drug Policy. (October 2002).”Drug Use Trends” (Executive Office of the President )

Service Community Assessment of Needs. (2003, 02/01/2009). “Vulnerable Population.”



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