Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 183–204 | Cite as

Developmental and Cross-Situational Differences in Adolescents' Coping Strategies

  • Michael A. Griffith
  • Eric F. Dubow
  • Maria F. Ippolito


In this study, we investigated developmental and cross-situational differences in strategies adolescents use to cope with family, school, and peer stressors. We also examined the relation between adolescents' use of coping strategies and two indices of adjustment (self perceptions of their adjustment as a result of coping with the specific stressor and state anxiety). The sample included 148 seventh graders, 124 ninth graders, and 103 twelfth graders (n = 375). Approach coping increased across the three grade levels, especially in relation to family and peer stressors. Adolescents used more avoidance than approach coping strategies for family stressors, and more approach than avoidance strategies for school and peer stressors. Across stressors, approach coping predicted more favorable outcomes and avoidance coping predicted less favorable outcomes. Coping strategies in response to a specific stressor were more strongly predictive of stressor-specific adjustment than state anxiety, suggesting the need to include both stressor-specific and global measures of adjustment in assessing the relation between coping and adjustment.


Coping Strategy Favorable Outcome Grade Level State Anxiety Global Measure 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael A. Griffith
    • 1
  • Eric F. Dubow
    • 2
    • 3
  • Maria F. Ippolito
    • 4
  1. 1.Fort Collins Youth ClinicFort Collins
  2. 2.Bowling Green State UniversityBowling Green
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyBowling Green State UniversityBowling Green
  4. 4.Bowling Green State UniversityBowling Green

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