Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 353–384 | Cite as

Expect the Best and Prepare for the Worst: Anticipatory Coping and Preparations for Y2K

  • Lisa G. Aspinwall
  • Gretchen B. Sechrist
  • Paul R. Jones

The Y2K Bug, the programming glitch expected to derail computerized systems worldwide when the year changed from 1999 to 2000, provided a rich context for examining anticipatory coping and preparatory behaviors. In the last 2 months of 1999, 697 respondents completed an online survey of proactivity, worry about Y2K, dispositional optimism, primary and secondary control-oriented coping efforts, estimates of Y2K-related disruptions, and household preparations. Higher levels of proactivity, worry, and optimism were independently associated with greater self-reported preparations. These predictors were positively associated with greater primary control-oriented coping efforts, but showed differential relations to secondary control efforts, such as accepting the situation or trusting a higher power, especially among participants who thought the damage would be severe and lasting. Implications for understanding multiple ways of coping with potential stressors are discussed.


Proactive coping anticipatory coping worry optimism disaster preparedness damage estimates primary control secondary control acceptance religious coping 



We thank the Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, for partial funding of the costs of publicizing the survey. The authors wish to thank the following people, and especially Kent Norman, Marc Kaplan, and Jean Fleckenstein Reuter, for their assistance in this project: Patty Curran, Pat Gaffke, Doug Hill, Julie Jordan, David Keppler, Barbara Keppler, JongHan Kim, the Sechrist family, students in the first author's Fall 1999 honors Health Psychology course, and all others who assisted with the foreign language versions of the survey. We also wish to thank Ralf Schwarzer for sharing his measures, Shelley E. Taylor and Suzanne Thompson for helpful comments on a previous version of this article, and Angela Newman and Atara MacNamara for their assistance in the preparation of this article. Suzanne Thompson served as Guest Editor for this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa G. Aspinwall
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Gretchen B. Sechrist
    • 1
    • 3
  • Paul R. Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity at Buffalo, The State University of New YorkBuffaloUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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