Children’s strategies for coping: links with social anxiety and depressive symptoms

Wright, Mark Lee (2010) Children’s strategies for coping: links with social anxiety and depressive symptoms. Doctoral thesis (DPhil), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

Cognitive and behavioural theories of social anxiety and depression provide clear
explanations for the links between these conditions and the strategies children use to cope
with peer conflict situations. However, empirical research in the area has left several
unresolved issues, warranting further investigation if we are to understand more fully the
links between coping and emotional adjustment. This programme of research was
designed to develop a comprehensive measure of children‟s coping, particularly in the
context of peer stressors, and to examine the links between specific coping strategies and
social anxiety and depression over time.

In a series of seven studies, reported in four papers, a total of 833 primary and secondary
school children completed measures of social anxiety, depression, coping, and a
sociometric survey, as well as measures of goals and appraisals. In Paper 1, seven
distinct coping strategies were revealed across several interpersonal situations that were
related to children‟s feelings in distinct ways, and that meaningfully mapped onto
differences between a mainstream school sample and a sample of pupils with emotional
and behavioural difficulties. In Paper 2, six of the seven coping subscales identified in
Paper 1 were confirmed and these specific ways of coping were differentially associated
with social anxiety and depression. Generally, social anxiety and depression were
longitudinally associated with distinctive profiles of coping strategies over a period of 9
months. In Paper 3, coping was found to have these differential associations with social
anxiety and depression across a range of peer conflict situations, and there was also
evidence of mediating effects of children‟s appraisals and goals. Finally, in Paper 4,
coping was found to be predictive of changes in depression over one year, but
associations between coping and emotional adjustment did not hold up over a two-year
period. These findings are discussed in relation to the existing coping literature and
theories of social anxiety and depression.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: Q Science > QZ Psychology
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Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2011 11:28
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2015 14:15
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/6273

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