Adaptational Style and Dispositional Structure: Coping in the Context of the Five-Factor Model


should be addressed to David Watson, Department of Psychology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242-1407. E-mail may be sent to


ABSTRACT We review prior evidence—and present data of our own—linking measures of adaptational style to the traits comprising the five-factor model of personality. Neuroticism has been studied most extensively and is consistently associated with passive and ineffective coping mechanisms. Conscientiousness has emerged as an equally powerful predictor of coping; however, it is related to active, problem-focused response strategies. Extraversion is less broadly related to coping but tends to be correlated with social support seeking, positive reappraisal, and problem-focused coping. Openness is largely unrelated to many traditional coping inventories, but appears to reflect a more flexible, imaginative, and intellectually curious approach to problem solving. Finally, Agreeableness is only modestly related to coping. These results demonstrate the value of using well-articulated taxonomic schemes as a framework for trait-based research.