Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Psychology


Clinical Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, 49 pages) : black and white illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Leslie F Halpern

Committee Members

Hazel M Prelow


Childhood, Coping, Psychopathology, Temperament, Adjustment (Psychology), Temperament in children, Emotions in children, Child psychopathology

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology


Children are exposed to various stressors throughout development. Research has demonstrated that childhood stressors can negatively affect adjustment, and that children's temperament and coping impact the effects of stress on adjustment. The current study examines children's coping responses to situations eliciting anger, sadness, fear, and worry in a sample of 191 children (102 boys, 89 girls; mean age = 9.57 years, SD=0.57) recruited from a suburban school district. Additionally, the predictive relationship of temperament variables on coping strategy use is explored. Finally, coping and temperament's effect on the development of psychopathology is investigated. Results show that children reported using more engagement coping than any other coping strategy in response to situations that evoked anger, worry, sadness, and fear. No significant relationships were found between temperament and coping. The lack of association between these variables may be due to methodological issues. Results also showed that negative affect was a significant predictor of both anxiety and depressive symptomatology in children. Additionally, engagement coping moderated the relationship between negative affect and depression. Future research should continue to investigate the relationships among temperament, coping, and adjustment in both clinical and nonclinical samples of children. Findings could aid in the development of effective interventions for children with certain temperamental characteristics that may predispose them to psychopathology.