Self-regulation as a moderator of the relation between coping and symptomatology in children of divorce

Liliana J. Lengua, Irwin Sandler

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Abstract

Investigated the effects of self-regulation as a moderator of the relations between coping efforts and psychological symptoms of children of divorce. The interactions of two dimensions of self-regulation (task orientation and approach-flexibility) and two dimensions of coping (active and avoidant) predicting children's postdivorce symptoms were tested using a sample of 199 divorced mothers and their children, ages 8 to 12. The approach-flexibility dimension moderated the relations of both active and avoidant coping with children's self-report of anxiety. At higher levels of approach-flexibility, active coping was negatively related to anxiety, while at lower levels of approach-flexibility, active coping was unrelated to anxiety. Avoidant coping was unrelated to anxiety at higher levels of approach-flexibility, whereas at lower levels of approach-flexibility, avoidant coping was positively related to anxiety. The task orientation dimension did not interact with coping, but had direct, independent effects on children's self-report of conduct problems, depression, and parent-report of internalizing and externalizing behavior problems. The implications for understanding children's coping with divorce and future directions for research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)681-701
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Volume24
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1996

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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