Behavioral Correlates of Self-Appraised Problem-Solving Ability: Problem-Solving Skills and Health-Compromising Behaviors


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Timothy R. Elliott, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. University of Alabama at Birmingham, Spain Rehabilitation Center, 17I7 Sixth Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35233–7330.


According to the revised social problem-solving model, problem solving skills should be associated with cognitive and behavioral attempts to solve or prevent personal problems. We reasoned that the Approach-Avoidance scale on the Problem-Solving Inventory (PSI; Heppner, 1988) measures problem-solving skills as defined in the model, and predicted that scores on this factor would be predictive of health-compromising behaviors among 96 undergraduate students. An aspect of the problem-orientation component would be predictive of global health perceptions. Ineffective problem-solving skills were associated with greater alcohol intake over a 2-week period, and with more sedentary leisure behavior on retrospective and prospective measures. Perceived control over emotions was predictive of health perceptions, as hypothesized. However, elements of problem solving were unrelated to tobacco use, illicit drug use, and exercise behaviors.