Measuring Adolescent Coping Styles Following a Natural Disaster: An ESEM Analysis of the Kidcope

  • Tara M. Powell
  • Kate M. Wegmann
  • Stacy Overstreet
Original Paper


The ways in which youth cope with the following traumatic experiences have a critical impact on resilience and recovery, yet few measures adequately assess adolescent coping behaviors while exhibiting sound psychometric properties. The current study uses exploratory structural equation modeling (ESEM) to analyze data from the Kidcope, an assessment tool that is widely used in both clinical and research settings. A total of 652 hurricane-affected adolescent females completed the Kidcope approximately 6 months following Hurricane Katrina. ESEM results yielded a four-factor model including positive coping, blame and anger, wishful thinking, and social withdrawal. The coping behaviors represented in the four latent factors are consistent with results of a previous study of a hurricane-affected White, middle-class sample; however, they differ from the coping behaviors used by primarily Black, lower-income sample experiencing the same disaster. Results indicate that demographic and cultural characteristics may be strong influences in determining children’s coping styles and behaviors and should be taken into account when providing services to help youth recover.


Coping Mental health Adolescents Exploratory structural equation modeling Natural disaster Measurement 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study (retrospective), formal consent is not required.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkUniversity of Illinois Urbana—ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyTulane UniversityNew OrleansUSA

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