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Previous research has established associations between stress and coping processes and internalizing and externalizing problems among adolescents and emerging adults. The purpose of the present study was to integrate this literature with research demonstrating the importance of self-theory—views that individuals hold about themselves and their abilities. We examined the extent to which self-theory may influence both coping processes and internalizing and externalizing problems among adolescents and emerging adults. Using moderated mediation, we tested whether coping serves as a mechanism through which self-theory of both intelligence and personality influences internalizing and externalizing problems among adolescents and emerging adults. One hundred and forty participants (adolescents aged 14–17; emerging adults aged 18–30; 60 % female; 8.5 % ethnic minority) completed questionnaires on self-theory, coping responses, and behavioral/emotional problems. Results of moderated mediation analyses were consistent with coping as a mechanism through which self-theory influences psychopathology symptoms such that more malleable beliefs are associated with increased productive coping strategies and lower levels of internalizing and externalizing problems. The current findings also indicate that these associations were significant for adolescents but not for emerging adults. Although cross-sectional, findings suggest that fostering malleable beliefs among adolescents may increase the use of productive coping strategies and positively influence adjustment.
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- Youth Self-Views, Coping with Stress, and Behavioral/Emotional Problems: The Role of Incremental Self-Theory
Elyse R. Rosenberg
Keith B. Burt
Rex L. Forehand
Amy A. Paysnick
- Springer US