The development of coping across childhood and adolescence: An integrative review and critique of research
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Despite consensus that development shapes every aspect of coping, studies of age differences in coping have proven difficult to integrate, primarily because they examine largely unselected age groups, and utilize overlapping coping categories. A developmental framework was used to organize 58 studies of coping involving over 250 age comparisons or correlations with age. The framework was based on (1) conceptualizations of coping as regulation to suggest ages at which coping should show developmental shifts (Skinner & Zimmer-Gembeck, 2009), and (2) notions of hierarchical families to clarify which coping categories should be distinguished at each age (Skinner, Edge, Altman, & Sherwood, 2003). Developmental patterns in coping (e.g., problem-solving, distraction, support-seeking, escape) were scrutinized with a focus on common age shifts. Two kinds of age trends were discerned, one reflecting increases in coping capacities, as seen in support-seeking (from reliance on adults to more self-reliance), problem-solving (from instrumental action to planful problem-solving), and distraction (adding cognitive to behavioural strategies); and one reflecting improvements in the deployment of different coping strategies according to which ones are most effective in dealing with specific kinds of stressors. Results were used to formulate guidelines for future research on the development of coping.
International Journal of Behavioral Development
© 2011 International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development. This is the author-manuscript version of the paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Developmental Psychology and Ageing
Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology