Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 39–55 | Cite as

Vulnerability to Social Stress: Coping as a Mediator or Moderator of Sociotropy and Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression

  • Jennifer K. Connor-Smith
  • Bruce E. Compas


Although stressful events clearly play an important role in the development of symptoms of depression and anxiety, individuals are not equally sensitive to stress. Attempts to explain differences in adjustment have focused both on the coping strategies employed in response to stress, and on personality-related vulnerabilities to specific stressors. However, little is known about the interplay between coping and personality traits such as sociotropy, which is associated with increased sensitivity to negative social events. Measures of sociotropy and symptoms of depression and anxiety were obtained in a sample of undergraduates, along with reports of coping with interpersonal stress. Regressions controlling for recent stressful events indicated that coping does not directly mediate the relationship between sociotropy and distress, but does moderate the relationship. Both primary and secondary control engagement coping buffer the link between sociotropy and anxiety/depression, whereas disengagement coping augments the relationship. Implications for social cognitive models of vulnerability to stress are highlighted.

sociotropy coping anxiety depression interpersonal stress 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer K. Connor-Smith
    • 1
  • Bruce E. Compas
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOregon State UniversityCorvallis
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of VermontBurlington

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