Coping strategies and first year performance in postsecondary education


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Gene M Alarcon, Department of Psychology, Wright State University, Dayton, OH 45435, USA. E-mail:


Coping was hypothesized to explain additional variance in first year grade point averages (GPAs) controlling for cognitive ability and conscientiousness. First year GPAs were assessed as criterion for performance in the first year. Results indicate active coping, denial, behavioral disengagement, and alcohol disengagement are related to first year GPA. Denial and alcohol disengagement coping strategies were significant predictors and negatively related to first year GPA in the final regression equation controlling for cognitive ability and conscientiousness. Latent growth modeling analysis demonstrated cognitive ability predicted both the intercept and slope of first year GPA. Conscientiousness was a predictor of initial GPA but not change. Lastly, coping was a significant predictor of change in GPA. Implications for research and theory are discussed.