Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues (Print ISSN: 1544-0036; Online ISSN: 1544-0044)

Research Article: 2022 Vol: 25 Issue: 3S

Strategy of Stress Coping and Living Survival on Communities Affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic Crisis: A Case Study of Ojek Online Driver in Malang City, Indonesia

Oman Sukmana, University of Muhammadiyah Malang

Juli Astutik, University of Muhammadiyah Malang

Zaenal Abidin, University of Muhammadiyah Malang

Citation Information: Sukmana, O., Astutik, J., & Abidin, Z. (2022). Strategy of stress coping and living survival on communities affected by the Covid-19 pandemic crisis: A Case Study of OJEK online driver in Malang city, Indonesia. Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues, 25(S3), 1-11.


The Covid-19 pandemic adversely affected countries' economic and social activities globally, thereby leading to the emergence of stress on human life. Therefore, this research aims to determine the various forms of stress and survival strategies of the OJEK commercial online motorcycle driver community, Malang, affected by the pandemic. This is a qualitative research with the purposive and snowball sampling method used to obtain data from 39 people of the OJEK online driver community in Malang. Data were collected through live interviews and by phone. The data obtained were analyzed through stages of qualitative processes, namely data collections, condensation, display, and conclusion (verification). The results showed that the form of stress felt by the OJEK online driver community includes anxiety, worry, restlessness, fear, confusion, emotional and sleep disorders. The stress coping strategies carried out by the OJEK online driver community include accepting responsibility, positive reappraisal, self-control, seeking social assistance or support, and planning for problem-solving strategies. Meanwhile, the live survival strategy carried out by the OJEK online driver community includes (1) making savings, (2) borrowing money from relatives, colleagues, or neighbors, (3) adjusting and arranging daily diets and menus, (4) seeking employment and side businesses, (5) making changes in behavior and lifestyle, and (6) selling or pawning household goods.


Strategy, Live Survival, Stress Coping, OJEK Online, Pandemic Covid-19.


The emergence of the novel coronavirus in early 2020, which rapidly spread to various parts of the world, was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization in February 2020 (Di-Gennaro et al., 2020). According to Sahni (2020) and Levkovich & Shinan-Altman (2020), the virus is very deadly and strongly impacts the emergence of fear, frustration, stress, and anxiety in humans. Globally, it is a threat to mental health, increasing anxiety, depressants, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and negative societal behaviors (?osi? et al., 2020). Therefore, to minimize its spread, some countries imposed various lockdown policies. Research in the UK on the psychological impact of lockdown policies on 5-11-year-olds showed that 73.8% expressed boredom, 84.5% felt lonely, and 61.4% were frustrated (Morgül et al., 2020; Chakraborty, 2020). The rapid spread of the virus and related lockdown methodologies have had numerous negative consequences (Syahrul et al., 2020). Other than the wellbeing dangers, economies have smashed unemployment and redundancies, expanding on inherent sorts of social issues, such as domestic violence (Salin et al., 2020).

The Covid-19 pandemic has globally affected organizations' economic, social, and psychological attributes worldwide, thereby leading to unemployment, an unsafe environment, and disruptions of businesses (Wenzel et al., 2021). The pandemic causes people to be quarantined and leads to disruption to the business world, travel bans, and the closure of schools and companies (Syahrial, 2020).

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the emergence of stress in humans. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in October 2020, the widespread of the pandemic disturbed or ended essential mental wellbeing administrations by 93% while expanding the request for mental wellbeing. The study of 130 nations provides the obliteration of primary worldwide information due to the pandemic on determining the mental wellbeing administrations and underscores the expanded financing. In addition to impacting the emergence of stress, the Covid-19 pandemic also impacts on poverty with an increase in the number of poor people (Suryahadi et al., 2020). According to the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS), the number of poor people in Indonesia in September 2020 amounted to 27.55 million people.

Burgess and Roberts (Coady & Lehmann, 2016) conducted an analysis of the level of stress that arises due to an acute crisis with 7 levels, namely: (1) Level-1: Somatic distress, (2) Level-2:Transitional stress crisis, (3) Level-3: Traumatic stress crisis, (4) Level-4: Family crisis, (5) Level-5:Serious mental illness, (6) Level-6: Psychiatry emergencies, and (7) Level-7: Catastrophic crisis.

Furthermore, Coady & Lehman (2016) stated that the stages of the crisis include (1) Outcry stage, which is the initial stage of reaction after a crisis event such as reflection reaction, emotional, and natural behavior. The forms of reactions that appear vary, such as panic, fainting, screaming, shock, anger, defensiveness, moaning, flat affect, crying, hysteria, and hyperventilation. (2) Denial and intrusiveness stages. Denial is associated with blocking the impact of the crisis, such as emotional numbing, dissociation, cognitive distortion, or minimizing. While intrusiveness is a form of thought and feeling that arises accidentally regarding a crisis or trauma event, such as flash backs, nightmares, automatic thoughts, and preoccupation with an occurred event. (3) Working Through stage, a recovery or healing process comprising thoughts, feelings, and image of the crisis expressed, recognized, explored, and reprocessed through adaptation patterns, skills, and strategies needed. (4) Completion or Resolution Stage, which is the final stage where people integrate with crisis events, reorganizes their lifestyle, and adapts and resolve to trauma through increasing positive meaning and changes.

A crisis significantly impacts the emergence of stress and threats to humans in maintaining their survival. Therefore, stress coping and live survival strategies are required. According to Mills (Baqutayan, 2015), stress is described as an internal reaction to events that occur to people and associated demands. Stress leads to fear, shame, and anger, irrespective of its source. Push and adapting with stretch are wonders closely weaved with human life and are straightforwardly connected (Hariharan & Rath, 2008).Stress is the anxious or threatening feeling from one's appraisal of a situation and reaction to demands (Kasschau, 2003). Meanwhile, Selye (Kasschau, 2003) categorized stress into negative and positive. Negative stress, also known as distress, is caused by severe anxiety or pressure and is extremely harmful to the mind and body. The strivings and challenges that constitute the spice of life lead to positive stress or eustress.

Lazarus & Folkman (1984) defined coping as a person's ongoing cognitive and behavioral efforts to cope with certain external and internal demands that are deemed to be taxing or surpassing the person's resources. According to Rabenu & Yaniv (2017), coping strategy is an essential category for quantifying how people react in real terms to stress, which is categorized into problem-focused and emotional-focused coping. Problem-focused coping is pointed at the stressor and its physical effect. Problem-focused coping in confronting an approaching storm incorporates such activities as taking off the city for a more secure put, putting up tropical storm shades, and getting supplies for a potential period without electric control. Emotion-focused coping stems from the reality that stretch encounters, for the most part, lead to enthusiastic trouble, which is pointed at avoiding, minimizing, or diminishing this problem (Contrada & Baum, 2011).

Folkman et al. (1986) stated that problem-focused coping includes confrontative, seeking social support, and planning full problem-solving. Meanwhile, Self-control, seeking social support, distancing, positive appraisal, accepting responsibility, and escape/avoidance are all examples of emotion-focused coping (Table 1).

Table 1 Ways of Coping Mechanisms Used By (Folkman et al., 1986)
Problem-focused coping: Emotion-focused coping:
Confrontative Coping Self-Control
Seeking Social Support Seeking Social Support
Plan full Problem-Solving Distancing
  Positive Appraisal
  Accepting Responsibility

Problem-focused coping includes active coping, planning, restraining, seeking social support for instrumental reasons, and suppression of competing activities.

Meanwhile, emotion-focused coping includes positive reinterpretation and growth, religion, humor, acceptance, and social support for emotional reasons. Carver et al. (1989) included a new dysfunctional coping model, comprising emotional venting, denial, behavioral disengagement, mental disengagement, and alcohol/drug usage (Table 2).

Table 2 Coping Mechanisms Employed by (Carver et al., 1989)
Problem-focused coping: Emotion-focused coping: Dysfunctional Coping:
Active coping Seeking social support for emotional reasons. Focus on and venting of emotions
Planning Positive reinforcement and growth Behavioral disengagement
Suppression of competing activities Acceptance Mental disengagement
Restraint coping Turning to religion Alcohol-drug use
Seeking social support for instrumental reasons. Humor Denial

Baqutayan (2015) then combines the views of Folkman et al. (1986) and Carver et al. (1989) as shown in Table 3.

Table 3 Convergenceways of Coping Mechanisms used by Folkman et al. (1986) and Carver et al. (1989) (Baqutayan, 2015)
Problem-Focused Coping Emotion-Focused Coping
Active coping Seeking social support for emotional reasons.
Planning Positive reinterpretation and growth
Suppression of competing activities Acceptance
Restraint coping Denial
Seeking social support for instrumental reasons. Turning to religion
Behavioral disengagement Focus on and venting of emotions
  Mental disengagement
  Alcohol-drug use

Suharyanto et al. (2019) stated that the survival strategy is a series of default actions chosen by socio-economically poor individuals and households. This strategy enables people to increase their income or reduce expenditures by utilizing other sources, such as a decrease in the quantity and quality of goods or services. The concept of family methodology tends to go vital as it describes the cluster of activities embraced by families to overcome daily challenges. The concept of house hold procedures has perceived that methodology is regularly the result of an arrangement of understood choices, associated with complex, intuitive and arrangements between family individuals, each with their social positions, part desires, andassets (Chaudhuri, 2018).

According to Harini et al. (2017), a household's survival approach is used to determine the total capacity too verse there sources they possess. Therefore, Moser developed an explanatory system called the resource defenselessness system, which is a household adjustment methodology for survival accomplished by overseeing family resources. This concept incorporates (1) work resources associated with family members such as children to assist with gaining cash, (2) human capital resources, such as the utilization of wellbeing status, instruction or aptitudes needed to get employed, (3)beneficial resources, which in corporate house and animals to ensure survival, (4) family connection resources, which utilizes expanded systems, ethnic bunches and work relocation through 'remittances' and (5) social capital resources, such as the utilization of neighborhood systems within the frame of an artisan to reserve funds and credits the family handle and framework.

During pandemics, a survival strategy is needed to maintain the social-economic growth of poor and vulnerable communities, such as the Ojek Online driver group, which is a motorcycle taxi, accessed using internet technology by utilizing the application on a mobile phone. Furthermore, this study aims to determine the right strategy needed to form a live survival strategy and stress coping in social-economic-prone community groups. The problems associated with the focus of this research carried out in the Ojek Online community are as follows, (1) What form of stress is felt due to the Covid-19 pandemic crisis?, (2) What is the stress coping strategy in this community as an economically vulnerable group?, and (3) What is the form of live survival strategy?

Research Methodology

This is a qualitative research carried out in Malang City, East Java Province, Indonesia (Marvasti, 2004; Denzim & Lincoln, 2005; Vanderstoep & Johnston, 2009). The study subjects were obtained from the OJEK online driver community in Malang through purposive or judgmental sampling (Babbie, 2008; Neuman, 2007). Meanwhile, the process used to determine the names and contacts of the 39 willing research subjects was carried out using the snow ball method (Browne, 2005; Naderifar et al., 2017). The subjects’ characteristics were as follows, (1) male, (2) between the ages of 25-50 years, (3) the number of family dependents were 1-3 people, (4) the number of earners per month was between IDR 500.00 to IDR3.000.000, and (5) the working period as driver OJEK Online between 6 months to 12 months.

Furthermore, analysis data is carried out using interactive models through data collection, condensation, display, and conclusions (Miles et al., 2014).

The data collection process was conducted through Interviews (Ryan et al., 2009). Qualitative research interviews (QRIs) involve collecting facts and knowledge, eliciting stories, and learning about meanings, feelings, perceptions, and relationships that are difficult to visualize (Rossetto, 2014). The interview process is carried out directly by implementing the Covid-19 health protocol standard, namely wearing masks, maintaining distance, and using mobile phones. The interview process was assisted by 6 students of the Social Welfare Study Program, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, University of Muhammadiyah Malang spread across 6 OJEK Online driver base locations in the Malang City area. Interview materials on the study include name, age, contact number, amount of income, number of family dependents, forms of stress experienced, forms of stress, coping strategies held, and strategies to maintain survival in the pandemic.

The condensation process comprises selection, simplification, and transformation of data in field records documents and interview transcripts. In this process, data is focused on three main processes, namely (1) the stress forms of the subject, (2) the stress-coping strategy conducted by the subject, and (3) the subject's live survival strategy.

The display process is created in the form of a table, which is qualitative and used to strengthen the description of the data with an added percentage column. It consists of table form stress, table form and stress coping strategy, and table strategy live survival.

Conclusions (drawing/verifying) process enables authors to verify the research results. The description process is carried out inductively, while the verification process is conducted using a framework of concepts and theories.

Results and Discussion

The description of the study results of the Ojek Online community during the pandemic is focused on three aspects, namely forms of stress, the coping strategy, and the live survival strategy.

First, stress due to the Covid-19 pandemic has a psychological impact on humans. The stress that arises due to the virus is shown in Table 4.

Table 4 Forms of Stress in OJEK Online Driver Community Due to the Pandemic
No. Forms of Stress Amount (n) Percentage (%)
1. Anxiety n=35 89,74
2. Concerns n=34 87,18
3. Restless (Uneasy) n=27 69,23
4. Fear (Feeling Threatened) n=37 94,87
5. Confusion n=23 58,97
6. Irritability (Emotional) n=12 30,76
7. Sleep disorder n=15 38,46

Table 4 shows that the forms of stress felt by the Ojek Online community include the emergence of anxiety, fear, confusion, emotions, and experiencing sleep disorders. These are explained as follows:

Anxiety; A total of 32 subjects (89.74%) stated that they felt anxiety, such as fear and concern for the future during the pandemic. The appearance of stress in the form of anxiety is due to having to deal with abnormal things, which led to nervousness, restlessness, and tension.

Concerns; A total of 34 39 subjects (87.18%) stated that they experienced a feeling of worry on exposure to the deadly virus, which led to discomfort and anxiety. This attitude is associated with adverse events and beset by unreasonable and unfounded fears. Worry is caused by things that make a person feel depressed, such as panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

Restless; A total of 27 39 subjects (69.23%) stated that they experienced a feeling of anxiety during the pandemic. Restlessness is a condition that describes the body's inability and mind to rest, relax, or concentrate, thereby leading to uneasiness, confusion, and discomfort. People that experience anxiety have problems with focus or difficulty in communicating, thereby leading to daily difficulty in living. Fear (Feeling Threatened); A total of 37 subjects (94.87%) stated that they experienced a feeling of fear during the pandemic. Fear is an emotional response to threats and dangers in response to a particular stimulus, such as pain or threat.

Confusion; A total of 23 subjects (58.97%) stated that they experienced a feeling of confusion on ways to overcome economic problems during the pandemic. Confused or, in medical terms, disorientation is a condition in which a person becomes unable to think clearly. Confusion leads to psychological conditions or a state of illness due to stress.

Irritability (Emotional); A total of 13 subjects (30.76%) stated that they experienced feelings of irritability (emotional) by venting on family members, such as wives and children. Emotions are intense feelings directed at someone or something and a reaction to a person or an event.

Sleep Disorders; A total of 15 subjects (38.46%) stated that they experienced sleep disorders during the pandemic. Sleep disorders are abnormalities of a person's sleep patterns, which leads to a decrease in its quality that impacts the health and safety of sufferers. It is characterized by drowsiness during the day, difficulty sleeping at night, or irregularity in the process. Burgess and Roberts (Coady & Lehmann, 2016) state that forms of stress experienced by the subject of the study include anxiety, fear, confusion, and emotional disorders, which are all categorized in Serious Mental Illness (SMI). SMI is identified as a person with a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional condition that causes severe functional disability and significantly restricts one significant life activity.

Second, it is associated with efforts made by the Ojek Online community in overcoming the stress due to the pandemic. The strategies include accepting responsibility (91.89%), positive reappraisal (82.05%), Self-control (84.61%), seeking help or social support (84.61%), and planning problem solving (58.97%).

Table 5 explains the stress coping strategy conducted by the OJEK Online driver community as follows:

Table 5 Stress Coping Strategy
No. Stress Coping Strategy Amount (n) Percentage (%) Stress Coping Category
(Folkman, et al., 1986; Baqutayan, 2015)
1. Accepting responsibility n=34 91,89 Emotion-focused coping
2. Positive reappraisal n=32 82,05 Emotion-focused coping
3. Self-control n=33 84,61 Emotion-focused coping
4. Seeking help/social support n=15 38,46 Problem-focused Coping
5. Planning the solution of the problems n=23 58,97 Problem-focused coping

Accepting responsibility; a total of 34 subjects (91.89%) stated that they were forced to accept the circumstances and situation of the pandemic. The study subjects stated that although it was difficult to accept the reality of the situation at first, they adjusted to the situation and realized it was the same globally.

Positive reappraisal; A total of 32 subjects (82.05%) stated that they tried determining positive sides to the situation. The subject stated that the emergence of the pandemic outbreak is realized as God's will with negative and positive impacts on human life. According to the subjects, the positive impact of the pandemic is the awareness that humans are helpless beings; need to get closer to God, increased family interactions due to the mandatory stay at home policy, rise in social solidarity and care, awareness to live healthily, etc.

Self-control; A total of 33 subjects (84.61%) stated that they tried to exercise self-control over the circumstances by modifying their living discipline according to health protocols, such as washing hands, wearing asker, keeping distance, avoiding commotion, not making physical contact, etc.

Seek help or social support; a total of 15 subjects (38.46%) stated that they are trying to seek help or social support from relatives, colleagues, friends, government, and private social institutions to reduce the burden and impact of the pandemic. They also sought help and support from other parties in the form of economic, social, and psychological assistance.

Planning the solution of the problems; A total of 23 subjects (58.97%) stated that they are trying to plan or determine the solution to the crisis that occurred by discussing with family, friends, or colleagues. They sought advice from these people to address the economic, social, physical, and psychological problems of the country due to the pandemic.

From the description above, it can be stated that there are five stress coping strategies carried out by the OJEK online driver community of Malang, namely (1) accepting responsibility, (2) reappraisal positive, (3) Self-control,(4) seeking help or social support, and (5) planning problem-solving strategies. According to Folkman et al. (1986) and Baqutayan (2015), the various forms of stress coping accept responsibility, positive reappraisal, and self-control. Emotional-focused coping, while the form of stress coping consists of seeking help/social support and planning problem solving as a category of Problem-focused Coping. Therefore, 60% of the research subjects, namely the OJEK Online driver community, apply emotional-focused coping strategies, and 40% implemented Problem-focused Coping strategies.

Third, the data showed that before the live survival strategy, the life of the OJEK online community includes savings (100%), borrowing money from relatives or neighbors (38.46%), adjusting and regulating diet (100%), looking for work, and side businesses (69.23%), changes and lifestyle (82.05%), and selling or pawning household goods (25.64%).

Table 6 further explained the Live Survival strategy conducted by the Ojek Online community. Save money: A total of 39 subjects (100%) stated that they carried out various strategies to save money during the pandemic. Spending was only prioritized to meet the needs of daily life, such as eating, drinking, health, etc.

Table 6 Live Survival Strategy of Covid-19 Crisis
No. Forms of Stress Sum (n) Percentage (%)
1. Save money n=39 100
2. Owe/borrow money from neighbors/relatives n=15 38,46
3. Adjusting/regulating rations and diet n=23 58,97
4. Trying to get work/side business. n=27 69,23
5. Lifestyle changes/behaviors n=32 82,05
6. Selling/ pawning goods n=10 25,64

Borrowing money or goods: A total of 15 out of 39 subjects (38.46%) carried out various strategies to survive during the pandemic by trying to borrow money from relatives, colleagues, and neighbors. According to the subject, they were forced to borrow money to meet the daily needs of their families, relatives, colleagues, and neighbors with better economic conditions.

Adjusting or regulating rations and diet: A total of 23 subjects (58.97%) stated that they carried out survival strategies by regulating daily family meals at home without visiting restaurants.

Trying to find a job or a side business; a total of 27 subjects (69.23%) stated that they searched for additional income to survive during the pandemic. Some worked as Ojek online drivers, opened fried food sales, etc.

Changes in lifestyle or behavior of life; A total of 32 subjects (82.05%) stated that they carried out survival strategies by changing the style or behavior. For example, those that initially walked to malls, go on vacations, etc. failed to do these during the pandemic. This change in life behavior is not solely because the government limits their movements to control the spreading virus, rather due to limited funds.

Selling or pawning goods; a total of 10 subjects (25.64%) stated that they carried out survival strategy by selling or pawning goods, such as TVs, home furnishings, etc. This was done to meet the daily family needs during the temporary period.

The psychological impact caused by the Covid-19 crisis in the OJEK Online driver community is the appearance of stress. Forms of stress that arise as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis include anxiety, anxiety, fear, confusion, emotional and sleep disorders. Referring to the views of Burgess and Roberts (Coady & Lehmann, 2016) it can be stated that the forms of stress experienced by the OJEK Online driver community can be categorized as Serious Mental Illness.

Efforts made by the OJEK Online driver community in overcoming the stress that occurred as a result of the Covid-19 crisis include strategies: accepting responsibility, positive reappraisal, Self-control, seeking help or social support, and planning problem-solving. Referring to the view of Folkman et al. (1986), Carver et al. (1989), and Baqutayan (2015), stated that the form of stress coping is: Accepting responsibility, Positive reappraisal, and Self-control as to the category of Emotional-focused coping, while the form of stress coping is: Seeking help/social support and Planning problem solving as a category of Problem-focused Coping.


The Covid-19 pandemic caused a crisis in human life, including OJEK Online workers. OJEK Online driver community strategy in maintaining the continuity of life in the era of the Covid-19 crisis includes: making spending savings, borrowing money from relatives or neighbors, adjusting and regulating diet, finding work and side businesses, making lifestyle changes, and selling or pawning household goods.


The authors are grateful to the Directorate of Research and Community Service (DP2M), the University of Muhammadiyah Malang, for financing this research. The authors are also grateful to all those that helped in the smooth implementation of this research.


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Received: 28-Oct-2021, Manuscript No. JLERI-21-9380; Editor assigned: 30-Oct-2021, PreQC No. JLERI-21-9380(PQ); Reviewed: 15-Nov-2021, QC No. JLERI-21-9380; Revised: 13-Jan-2022, Manuscript No. JLERI-21-9380(R); Published: 20-Jan-2022

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