Personality, coping, and coping effectiveness in an adult sample

Robert R. McCrae, Paul T. Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

690 Scopus citations


Two studies of coping among community‐dwelling adults (N= 255,151) were used to examine the influence of personality on coping responses, the perceived effectiveness of coping mechanisms, and the effects of coping and personality on well‐being In both studies a wide range of potential stressors was examined, categorized as losses, threats, or challenges The personality dimensions of neuroticism, extraversion, and openness to experience, as measured by both self‐reports and spouse‐ and peer‐ratings, were systematically related to coping mechanisms in both studies There was general agreement across types of stressors on the use and perceived effectiveness of the 27 coping mechanisms, and individuals who used more effective ways of coping generally reported higher subsequent happiness and life satisfaction However, personality variables are also known to be determinants of well‐being, and the associations between coping and well‐being were reduced when personality measures were partialled out Some implications for the design and interpretation of coping effectiveness studies are discussed

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-404
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of personality
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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