Coping and adjustment in distressed and healthy adolescents

Aaron T. Ebata, Rudolf H. Moos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The way in which adolescents respond to stressors may be an important predictor of how successfully they adapt to the challenges of the teen years. In this article we examine coping responses in four groups of youth (healthy controls, adolescents with rheumatic disease, adolescents with conduct problems and depressed adolescents) using eight narrow-band scales hierarchically organized into broader-band domains of approach and avoidance coping. We then examine the association between coping responses and individual differences in adjustment. Adolescents in the four groups do not differ in their use of approach coping; however, depressed adolescents and adolescents with conduct disorder use more avoidance coping than rheumatic disease and healthy adolescents. Overall, adolescents who use more approach and less avoidance coping are better adjusted. The results suggest that efforts to change, manage, or positively reappraise a problematic situation actively, are important for good long-term adjustment. Adolescents who engage in more avoidance coping may be at greater risk for poorer adjustment to subsequent life stressors and crises.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-54
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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