Individual differences in the levels of stress people experience can arise from many sources. Women and people with negative affectivity tend to report more stress than men and people with a more positive outlook on life but it is unclear whether this is because they actually experience more stress or because they cope less well with it. An Australian study of 216 undergraduates presented them with identical, hypothetical stressful scenarios. Women rated the scenarios as more stressful than the men did and people with higher negative affectivity rated them as more stressful than the people with lower negative affectivity did. Women were more likely to use emotion-focused coping strategies aimed at reducing unpleasant emotions by accepting responsibility, seeking support from others, venting their emotions and self-blame. People higher in negative affectivity were more likely to use avoidance-focused coping such as withdrawal, escape and denial.
Eaton, Rebecca J. and Bradley, Graham - The role of gender and negative affectivity in stressor appraisal and coping selection International Journal of Stress Management February 2008, 15(1), 94-115