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Psychol Bull. 1997 May;121(3):417-36.

A stitch in time: self-regulation and proactive coping.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park 20742-4411, USA.


In a conceptual and temporal framework, derived from research on social cognition, social interaction, and stress and coping, the authors analyze the processes through which people anticipate or detect potential stressors and act in advance to prevent them or to mute their impact (proactive coping). The framework specifies five stages in proactive coping: (1) resource accumulation, (2) recognition of potential stressors, (3) initial appraisal, (4) preliminary coping efforts, and (5) elicitation and use of feedback concerning initial efforts. The authors detail the role of individual differences skills, and resources at each stage. They highlight the unique predictions afforded by a focus on proactive coping and the importance of understanding how people avoid and offset potential stressors.

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