Stress responses play a central role in the development of psychopathology. Coping efforts, one subset of stress responses, have been shown to influence the relations between stress and adjustment. Although the relations between youths' coping and emotional and behavioral outcomes are well-documented, less is known about the factors that predict youths' coping. Given their importance for adaptation, understanding influences on youths' coping has important implications for developmental theories and preventive interventions. The current study examined the main and interactive effects of positive parenting and youths' temperament on youths' coping efforts and coping efficacy one year later in a sample of 192 youth aged 9-15 years when assessed initially. Data used were from the first and third waves of a four-wave, prospective, longitudinal study of families where one or both parents recently became unemployed. Positive parenting was measured with a combination of mother-report, child-report, and observational measures. Temperament was assessed with mother-report, child-report, and/or teacher-report measures. Children reported on their coping. It was hypothesized that positive parenting, effortful control, and surgency would be positively associated with active coping and coping efficacy, and negatively associated with avoidant coping. Further, it was hypothesized that the relations between positive parenting and youths' coping would be stronger for youths low in effortful control or surgency. Structural equation modeling with latent variables revealed no significant main effects of positive parenting, effortful control, or surgency on youths' coping efforts or coping efficacy. Path analyses revealed no significant positive parenting by temperament interactions in the prediction of youths' coping efforts or coping efficacy. Several significant correlations between measures of positive parenting or surgency and youths' coping emerged. The pattern of correlations provided some support for the hypothesized relations. For example, aspects of positive parenting (e.g., maternal acceptance) and youth surgency were associated with more adaptive coping both concurrently and longitudinally, whereas an aspect of negative parenting (i.e., maternal rejection) was associated with less adaptive coping both concurrently and over time. Potential explanations of the unexpected findings and future directions for understanding the role of parenting and youths' temperament in youths' coping efforts and coping efficacy are discussed.
- Children's coping efforts and coping efficacy: effects of parenting, surgency, and effortful control