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Review
, 64 (4), 775-813

The Interactional Context of Problem-, Emotion-, and Relationship-Focused Coping: The Role of the Big Five Personality Factors

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Review

The Interactional Context of Problem-, Emotion-, and Relationship-Focused Coping: The Role of the Big Five Personality Factors

T B O'Brien et al. J Pers.

Abstract

This study examined the role that personality and situational factors play in three forms of coping responses: problem-, emotion- and relationship-focused. Coping responses were strongly associated with whether the situation involved a primarily agentic (work) or communal (interpersonal) stressor. Among communal stressors, the involvement of close versus distant others was also associated with coping responses. Situational factors were linked most strongly with the use of problem-focused (planful problem solving) and relationship-focused (empathic responding) modes of coping. Dimensions of personality derived from the five-factor model (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness) had important associations with coping responses. Coping responses were best predicted by models that included both the additive and multiplicative effects of person and situation factors. Taken together, the findings suggest that a model of coping that considers both agentic and communal dimensions of stressful situations, includes interpersonal dimensions of coping, and considers personality and situation factors in tandem is needed to increase the predictive utility of current models.

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