Problem-solving style and coping strategies

Margaret A Maghan, Fordham University


The relationship between coping style and problem solving style was examined in this study. It was hypothesized that individuals' self-reported coping style would be congruent with their generalized problem solving style and that when responding to a problem situation, participants will prefer coping strategies consistent with their preferred style. One hundred and seven community college students completed VIEW: An Assessment of Problem Solving Style and the COPE Inventory. Participants were then randomly assigned to one of three vignettes, describing a problem situation of high stress, low stress, and a non-stress, neutral situation. Seven dependent variables were collected: participants ratings of the degree of stress they perceived in the problem situation, and six ratings of their perceptions of the usefulness of particular problem solving strategies for the problem situation described in the vignette that were keyed to VIEW problem solving styles (Explorer, Developer, External, Internal, Person-oriented, Task-oriented strategies). The problem solving strategies were categorized by the VIEW senior author as representative of VIEW styles. Multivariate analyses of covariance using participant-reported grade-point-averages revealed significant main effects for experimental group (stress-level of vignettes) but no main effect was due to VIEW style of participants. Participants clearly perceived differences in stress levels of vignettes. As for rating the usefulness of problem solving strategies, generally, higher ratings were given to Explorer, Developer, Person-oriented and Task-oriented strategies in the Low Stress condition. A few significant correlations were observed between VIEW and COPE, suggesting a commonality of a "conservative" problem-solving approach. Results were discussed in terms of problem solving theories, implications for practice, and suggestions for future research.

Subject Area

Cognitive psychology

Recommended Citation

Maghan, Margaret A, "Problem-solving style and coping strategies" (2009). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3361375.