Psychological Institute of Russian Academy of Education,
Background. Spatial ability (SA) has long been the focus of research in psychology, because it is associated with performance in science, technologies, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Research has shown that males consistently outperform females in most aspects of SA, which may partially explain the observed overrepresentation of male students seeking STEM degrees.
Objective. This study examines sex and field of study (degree) differences in different aspects of spatial ability and its structure.
Design. We assessed SA by using an on-line gamified battery, which included 10 spatial tests capturing 10 dimensions of spatial ability, among which were mental rotation, spatial visualization, spatial scanning, spatial reasoning, perspective-taking, and mechanical reasoning. The sample consisted of 882 STEM (55% males) and Humanities (20% males) university students in Russia.
Results. Males outperformed females on all assessed components of SA with a small effect size (1–11%). We also found that students from STEM fields outperformed Humanities students on all SA subtests (effect size ranged from 0.2 to 7%). These differences by study choice were not fully explained by the observed over-representation of males in the STEM group. The results of the study suggested no interaction between sex and degree. In other words, on average, males outperformed females, irrespective of whether they were STEM or humanities students; and the STEM advantage was observed for both males and females. The same unifactorial structure of SA was observed in the STEM and Humanities groups.
Conclusion. Our results are consistent with previous research, suggesting sex and study field differences in SA. Longitudinal research is needed to explore the causal mechanisms underscoring these differences.
Keywords: Spatial ability (SA), degree (field of study), gender differences, individual differences, STEM
Background. Recent research has suggested a unifactorial structure of spatial ability (SA). However, further studies are needed to replicate this finding in different populations.
Objective. is study aims to explore the factorial structure of SA in samples of 921 Russian and 229 Chinese university students.
Design. A gamified spatial abilities battery was administered to all participants. e battery consists of 10 different domains of SA, including 2D and 3D visualization, mental rotation, spatial pattern assembly, spatial relations, spatial planning, mechanical reasoning, spatial orientation, and spatial decision-making speed and flexibility.
Results. The results of the factor analysis showed a somewhat different pattern for different samples. In the Russian sample, the unifactorial structure, shown previously in a large UK sample (Rimfeld et al., 2017), was replicated. A single factor explained 40% of the variance. In the Chinese sample two factors emerged: the first factor explained 26% of the variance and the second factor, including only mechanical reasoning and cross-sections tests, explained 14%. e results also showed that the Chinese sample significantly outperformed the Russian sample in five out of the 10 tests. Russian students showed better performance in only two of the tests. The effects of all group comparisons were small.
Conclusion. Overall, a similar amount of variance in the 10 tests was explained in the two samples, replicating results from the UK sample. Future research is needed to explain the observed differences in the structure of SA.
Keywords: spatial ability (SA), factorial structure, Russian and Chinese students
Background. The COVID-19 pandemic has subjected people around the world to severe stress, evoking a variety of coping responses. Coping responses can be broadly classified into four strategies: 1) problem-focused coping; 2) emotion-focused coping; 3) socially supported coping; and 4) avoidance. While there is a wide variability of individual coping responses, to some extent they are also culturally specific.
Objective. This study aimed to compare the differences in the prevalence and factor structure of coping responses during COVID-19 pandemic in three countries: Russia, Kyrgyzstan, and Peru.
Design. The sample included 501 participants from Russia, 456 participants from Kyrgyzstan, and 354 participants from Peru. The mean age of participants was 28 years in Russia (SD = 13.5); 24 years in Kyrgyzstan (SD = 10.0); and 30 years in Peru (SD = 12.3). In Russia and Kyrgyzstan, coping strategies were assessed with an abbreviated Russian adaptation of the COPE (Coping Orientations to Problems Experienced) questionnaire. In Peru, coping responses were assessed using the Spanish version of the Brief COPE questionnaire. The average scores from fifteen COPE scales were used as the input data for linear modelling and factor analysis.
Results. The coping scores varied substantially within each country. Differences between countries accounted for 17.7% of the total variability in religious coping; 15.8% in acceptance; 13.9% in mental disengagement; and less than 7% in the other coping strategies. No difference in the prevalence of coping responses was found between Russian and Kyrgyz participants after accounting for age and gender. In all three countries the coping responses were associated with the same four coping domains: problem-focused coping, socially supported coping, avoidance, and emotion-focused coping. Four factors explained up to 44% of the total variation in the COPE scores. Religious coping and mental disengagement were classified into different coping domains in the three countries.
Conclusion. The results suggest that during the COVID-19 pandemic, people from different countries apply the full range of coping responses within the four universal coping strategies. Religious coping and mental disengagement differed the most across the countries, suggesting that some coping behaviors can take on different roles within the system of coping responses to stressful events. We attribute these differences to differing cultural and socioeconomic characteristics, and the different measures taken by governments in response to COVID-19.
Keywords: coping behavior; coping strategies; COPE; cross-cultural differences; factor structure