Coping Skills Help Explain How Future-Oriented Adolescents Accrue Greater Well-Being Over Time
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Adolescents who endorse greater levels of future orientation report greater well-being over time, but we do not know the mechanism by which this happens. The present longitudinal study examined whether both adaptive as well as maladaptive coping strategies might explain how future orientation leads to ill-being and well-being over time in young New Zealanders. A sample of 1,774 preadolescents and early adolescents (51.9 % female) aged 10–15 years at Time 1 completed a self-report survey three times with 1 year intervals in between. Longitudinal mediation path models were constructed to determine whether and how maladaptive and adaptive coping strategies at Time 2 functioned as mediators between future orientation at Time 1 and ill-being and well-being at Time 3. Results showed that future orientation predicted lower maladaptive coping, which in turn predicted lower substance use and self-harming behavior. All three well-being outcomes (i.e., happiness with weight, vitality, and sleep) were consistently predicted by future orientation, and all three pathways were mediated by both lower maladaptive and higher adaptive coping strategies (with the exception of happiness with weight, which was mediated only by lower maladaptive coping). The results suggest that several pathways by which future orientation leads to greater well-being occurs through an increased use of adaptive coping, a decreased use of maladaptive coping, or both.
KeywordsFuture orientation Coping Well-being Mediation Adolescents
All three authors, L.W.C, T.L.M, and P.E.J, conceived of the study, and coordinated and wrote the manuscript. L.W.C performed the literature review, drafted the manuscript, and performed most of the statistical analyses; T.L.M assisted in the literature review, the conceptualisation of the hypotheses, and the data analysis; P.E.J created the research design, collected the data, and assisted in the data analysis. All authors contributed to the writing of the final version, and all authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.
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