Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 415–427 | Cite as

The relationship between problem-solving self-appraisal and psychological adjustment

  • P. Paul Heppner
  • Wayne P. Anderson


This study examined whether college students' self-appraisal of their problem-solving effectiveness (i.e., perceived confidence, personal control, approach-avoidance) is related to their psychological adjustment, as measured by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). Subjects (N = 671) were initially given the Problem Solving Inventory (PSI; Heppner & Petersen, 1982), with 40 subjects who scored in the top 16% and 40 in the lower 16% of the PSI scores selected for additional participation; 67 (81% of the random sample) subsequently completed the study by responding to the MMPI. The data were analyzed on a scale-by-scale basis, as well as through profile analyses by two psychologists skilled in the interpretation of MMPI profiles. Results revealed that self-appraised ineffective (as opposed to effective) problem-solvers scored more negatively on a general index of psychological adjustment (the sum of all the clinical scales), differed on all of the hypothesized validity and clinical scales (F, K, F minus K, D, Pt, and Sc), and differed on all of the hypothesized additional scales (A, Es, Dy, Do, Re, Pr, St, Es minus A, and Do minus Dy). In addition, the profile analyses by the two psychologists suggested that the self-appraised ineffective problem-solvers were less well adjusted psychologically than the self-appraised effective problem-solvers, thus supporting the findings from the scale-by-scale analyses. Whereas behavioral adjustment has been previously linked to the ability to cope with problematic situations, perhaps an equally important variable is the person's appraisal of his/her coping ability.


College Student Random Sample Cognitive Psychology Important Variable Profile Analysis 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Paul Heppner
    • 1
  • Wayne P. Anderson
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of Missouri-ColumbiaColumbiaUSA

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