Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 241–257 | Cite as

Personal problem solving in a simulated setting: Do perceptions accurately reflect behavior?

  • Lisa M. Larson
  • Maria T. Potenza
  • Lori W. Wennstedt
  • Patrick J. Sailors


The purpose of this study was to ascertain if people who appraise themselves as ineffective problem solvers compared to their perceived effective counterparts [i.e., those scoring high vs. low on the Problem-Solving Inventory (Heppner, 1988)] would behaviorally respond to a simulated problem less effectively. While delivering a 15-min classroom presentation, 61 participants were disrupted three times by a confederate. The results indicated that the self-perceived ineffective problem solvers compared to their perceived effective counterparts did not behave less effectively to the disruptions. However, interpersonal process recall (Kagan, 1975) showed that, during the third disruption, more of the former group compared to the latter group reported negative self-statements, more emotional arousal, intense affect, and self-focused as opposed to problem-focused statements. Further, the former group reported more debilitating cognitions and feelings during the task in general than did the latter group.

Key words

personal problem solving simulated problems coping 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa M. Larson
    • 1
  • Maria T. Potenza
    • 1
  • Lori W. Wennstedt
    • 1
  • Patrick J. Sailors
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Nebraska — LincolnLincoln

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