Coping With Interpersonal Stress: Role of Big Five Traits

Authors


  • Dayna L. Lee-Baggley, Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Melady Preece, Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, British Columbia, Canada; Anita DeLongis, Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, British Columbia, Canada.

  • This research was supported by grants to the third author from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada and fellowships to the first author from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. This research is based on a thesis submitted by the first author. The factor analysis is based on a thesis submitted by the second author. We would like to thank Jennifer Campbell and Teresa O'Brien for their help at earlier stages of this project.

concerning this article should be addressed to Anita DeLongis, Department of Psychology, 2136 West Mall, University of British Columbia, British Columbia, Canada, V6T 1Z4. E-mail: adelongis@psych.ubc.ca.

Abstract

Abstract Seventy-one couples living in a stepfamily context reported interpersonal family stressors and related coping strategies daily for 1 week in a daily process study. The role of personality and of the stressful context in each of the spouse's coping was examined. Personality was assessed via the Five-Factor Model (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness). Two types of stressors emerged as primary dimensions of stepfamily stress: marital conflict and child misbehavior. These were treated as contextual factors in multilevel modeling analyses examining the independent and interactive effects of personality and situation on coping. Nine subscales of coping were examined based on three main functions of coping: problem-, emotion- and relationship-focused. Both the situational context and the five dimensions of personality examined were significantly and independently related to coping-strategy use. Moreover, there were significant personality-by-context interactions. The present study highlights the importance of considering personality in context when examining coping behaviors.

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