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Coping, Stress, and the Psychological Symptoms of Children of Divorce: A Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Study

Irwin N. Sandler, Jenn-Yun Tein and Stephen G. West
Child Development
Vol. 65, No. 6 (Dec., 1994), pp. 1744-1763
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1131291
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1131291
Page Count: 20
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Coping, Stress, and the Psychological Symptoms of Children of Divorce: A Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Study
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Abstract

The authors conducted a cross-sectional and prospective longitudinal study of stress, coping, and psychological symptoms in children of divorce. The sample consisted of 258 children (mean age = 10.1; SD = 1.2), of whom 196 were successfully followed 5.5 months later. A 4-dimensional model of coping was found using confirmatory factor analysis, with the factors being active coping, avoidance, distraction, and support. In the cross-sectional model avoidance coping partially mediated the relations between negative events and symptoms while active coping moderated the relations between negative events and conduct problems. In the longitudinal model significant negative paths were found from active coping and distraction Time 1 to internalizing symptoms Time 2, while Time 1 support coping had a positive path coefficient to Time 2 depression. Positive paths were found between negative events at Time 1 and anxiety at Time 2, and between all symptoms at Time 1 and negative events at Time 2.

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