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J Pers. 2000 Aug;68(4):757-88.

Coping-related expectancies and dispositions as prospective predictors of coping responses and symptoms.

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Illinois State University, Department of Psychology, Normal 61790-4620, USA.


We used Rotter's (1954, 1982) social learning theory and Kirsch's (1985, 1999) response expectancy extension thereof to clarify distinctions between coping-related expectancies (beliefs about the outcomes of coping efforts) and coping dispositions (tendencies to use particular coping responses), specifically focusing on the role of generalized expectancies for negative mood regulation (NMR) as a predictor of individual differences in coping and well-being. Two studies using structural equation modeling provided support for direct and indirect associations between NMR expectancies and symptoms of depression. In Study 1 NMR expectancies predicted situational avoidance coping responses and symptoms of depression and anxiety, independent of dispositional avoidance coping tendencies. In Study 2, NMR expectancies were associated with depressive symptoms, concurrently and prospectively, independent of dispositional optimism and pessimism. Both studies indicated that NMR expectancies are more strongly associated with depressive symptoms than with symptoms of anxiety and physical illness. Results underscore the importance of distinguishing between expectancies and other personality variables related to coping.

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