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, 72 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Leslie Halpern

Committee Members

Julia Hormes


anxiety, coping, depression, emerging adults, Young adults, Executive functions (Neuropsychology), Adjustment (Psychology), Anxiety, Depression, Mental

Subject Categories



Emerging adulthood is a developmental period marked by increased anxiety related to academic, social, and professional stressors. The ability to successfully cope with stress is strongly negatively related to mental health outcomes. Furthermore, recent studies indicate a connection between executive function impairment, anxiety and depression. The current study examines executive functioning (EF), coping, anxiety, and depression in a sample of 210 emerging adults (NMales = 131, Mage = 19.14). Additionally, the relation between EF and coping is explored. Finally, coping’s effect on the relation between EF and outcome (anxiety and depression) is investigated. The results demonstrate that males and females differ on several measures of EF and that this impacts the level of depression or anxiety that they experience. Executive function was found to be related to coping such that individuals with greater impairment engaged more frequently in both disengagement and emotion coping. Furthermore, disengagement coping predicted both anxiety and depression. Executive function impairment emerged as a significant predictor of both anxiety and depression. Additionally, emotion coping moderated the relation between executive function impairment and anxiety. Future research should continue to investigate the relations among executive function, coping, and mental health outcomes in both clinical and nonclinical samples of emerging adults. The gender difference in executive function and its moderating role in predicting outcome require further scrutiny. The findings could better inform the development of effective prevention and intervention programs for anxiety and depression.

Included in

Psychology Commons