Emotional approach and problem-focused coping: A comparison of potentially adaptive strategies

John P. Baker, Howard Berenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined for whom and under what circumstances emotional-approach coping and problem-focused coping are differentially more effective. Eighty-nine participants identified a current stressful situation and then were randomly assigned to either: (a) write for 15 minutes about their feelings (emotional-approach coping); or (b) write about how to solve their problem (problem-focused coping). Participants also completed a self-report measure that assessed how they coped during the two weeks after the exercise. Coping effectiveness was assessed by measuring positive affect, negative affect, and physical symptoms. Dimensions of emotional processing (e.g., clarity and attention to emotions) were assessed using self-report. Gender, type of stressful event (interpersonal vs. achievement), and individual differences in emotional processing moderated the effect of type of coping on positive affect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-118
Number of pages24
JournalCognition and Emotion
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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