A Dispositional and Situational Assessment of Children's Coping: Testing Alternative Models of Coping


  • Work on this study was funded in part by National Institute of Mental Health Grant P50-MH39246 to support a Preventive Intervention Research Center at Arizona State University and Prevention Training Research Grant 5-T32-MH18920 at Yale University. These studies were submitted to Arizona State University by Tim S. Ayers in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the doctoral degree in psychology. The first author gratefully acknowledges the contributions made by all committee members during the various stages of this work. An earlier version of this article was presented as a poster at the 1995 annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, New York, NY.

should be directed to Tim S. Ayers, Program for Prevention Research, Arizona State University, Community Services Center, PO Box 871108, Tempe, AZ 85287–1108.


ABSTRACT Dispositional and situational measures of children's coping were developed using a theoretically based approach. Two studies (N1 = 217; N2 = 303) assessed the psychometric characteristics of these measures in fourth- through sixth-grade children. Confirmatory factor analyses indicated that a four-factor model of dispositional coping (active, distraction, avoidant, and support seeking) provided a better fit to the data than either the problemversus emotion-focused (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) or passive versus active (Billings & Moos, 1981) coping models. The four-factor model was largely invariant with respect to age and gender. Moderate to high correlations were found between the parallel subscales of the dispositional and situational measures of coping. Although the four factor structures of the dispositional and situational measures were generally similar, factor loadings and correlations between dimensions were not equivalent.