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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The role of personality and situation factors in three modes of coping : emotion-focused, problem-focused, and relationship-focused O’Brien, Teresa Byrd


This study provides preliminary work in elucidating and measuring interpersonal dimensions of coping. It has been assumed that a two-function model of coping adequately describes the structure of coping (i.e., problem-focused and emotion-focused coping). However, this study suggests a third function of coping, "relationship-focused," which is aimed at the maintenance of relationships. Factor analysis of data obtained on 270 undergraduates supports a three-function model. One of the major contributions of this study is the development of a relationship-focused coping scale, which has sound psychometric properties and high internal reliability. As well, the influences of personality and situation factors on coping were examined. In general, both personality and situation factors contributed to the prediction of coping, thereby supporting a process-oriented approach to the study of coping. Personality dimensions were most potently related to the emotion-focused coping modes of positive reappraisal, accepting responsibility, and escape-avoidance; whereas, situation factors were more strongly related to the use of relationship-focused coping and planful problem-solving. In support of a transactional model of the stress process, when the situational context of the stressor was considered, personality was an important predictor of relationship-focused coping, confrontative coping, and planful problem-solving. Collectively, these results suggest that a more sophisticated model of coping which includes interpersonal dimensions of coping and considers personality and situation factors in tandem is needed to increase the predictive ability of current models.

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