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Annu Rev Psychol. 2007;58:119-44.

The development of coping.

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1
Department of Psychology, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon 97221, USA. skinnere@pdx.edu

Abstract

Research on coping during childhood and adolescence is distinguished by its focus on how children deal with actual stressors in real-life contexts. Despite burgeoning literatures within age groups, studies on developmental differences and changes have proven difficult to integrate. Two recent advances promise progress toward a developmental framework. First, dual-process models that conceptualize coping as "regulation under stress" establish links to the development of emotional, attentional, and behavioral self-regulation and suggest constitutional underpinnings and social factors that shape coping development. Second, analyses of the functions of higher-order coping families allow identification of corresponding lower-order ways of coping that, despite their differences, are developmentally graded members of the same family. This emerging framework was used to integrate 44 studies reporting age differences or changes in coping from infancy through adolescence. Together, these advances outline a systems perspective in which, as regulatory subsystems are integrated, general mechanisms of coping accumulate developmentally, suggesting multiple directions for future research.

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