Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Children's coping strategies and coping efficacy: Relations to parent socialization, child adjustment, and familial alcoholism


The relations of children's coping strategies and coping efficacy to parent socialization and child adjustment were examined in a sample of school-age children that included families in which some of the grandparents and/or parents had an alcoholism diagnosis. Parents and older children reported on the children's coping strategies; parents reported on their parenting behavior; and teachers reported on children's externalizing and internalizing problems. Measures of parent socialization were associated with parents' and children's reports of active coping strategies and parents' reports of both support-seeking coping and coping efficacy. Some of these relations were moderated by familial alcohol status. Children higher in parent-reported active/support-seeking coping and coping efficacy were rated lower in teacher-reported externalizing and internalizing adjustment problems. The findings were consistent with the view that active/support-seeking coping and coping efficacy mediated the association of parent socialization to children's psychological adjustment and that this relation was sometimes moderated by parental alcohol status.This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (DA05227; Laurie Chassin, Principle Investigator, Nancy Eisenberg, Co-Principal Investigator).

Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Cynthia L. Smith, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Human Development, 366 Wallace Hall (0416), Blacksburg, VA 24061; E-mail:
Hide All
Ayers, T. S., Sandler, I. N., West, S. G., & Roosa, M. W. (1996). A dispositional and situational assessment of children's coping: Testing alternative models of coping. Journal of Personality, 64, 923958.

Barnes, G. M., Reifman, A. S., Farrell, M. P., & Dintcheff, B. A. (2000). The effects of parenting on the development of adolescent alcohol misuse: A six-wave latent growth model. Journal of Marriage and Family, 62, 175186.

Barnow, S., Schuckit, M. A., Lucht, M., John, U., & Freyberger, H.-J. (2002). The importance of a positive family history of alcoholism, parental rejection and emotional warmth, behavioral problems and peer substance use for alcohol problems in teenagers: A path analysis. Journal of Studies in Alcohol, 63, 305315.

Brody, G. H., & Ge, X. (2001). Linking parenting processes and self-regulation to psychological functioning and alcohol use during early adolescence. Journal of Family Psychology, 15, 8293.

Brook, D. W., Brook, J. S., Whiteman, M., Arencibia-Mireles, O., Pressman, M. A., & Rubenstone, E. (2002). Coping in adolescent children of HIV-positive and HIV-negative substance-abusing fathers. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 163, 523.

Brook, J. S., Tseng, L.-J., & Cohen, P. (1996). Toddler adjustment: Impact of parents' drug use, personality and parent–child relations. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 157, 281295.

Brook, J. S., Whiteman, M., Balka, E. B., & Cohen, P. (1995). Parent drug use, parent personality, and parenting. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 156, 137151.

Brook, J. S., Whiteman, M., Shapiro, J., & Cohen, P. (1996). Effects of parent drug use and personality on toddler adjustment. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 157, 1935.

Carver, C. S., Scheier, M. F., & Weintraub, J. K. (1989). Assessing coping strategies: A theoretically based approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 267283.

Chassin, L., Barrera, M., Bech, K., & Kossak-Fuller, J. (1992). Recruiting a community sample of adolescent children of alcoholics: A comparison of three subject sources. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 53, 316320.

Chassin, L., Flora, D. B., & King, K. M. (2004). Trajectories of alcohol and drug use and dependence from adolescence to adulthood: The effects of familial alcoholism and personality. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 113, 483498.

Chassin, L., Pitts, S. C., DeLucia, C., & Todd, M. (1999). A longitudinal study of children of alcoholics: Predicting young adult substance use disorders, anxiety, and depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 108, 106119.

Colder, C. R., & Chassin, L. (1997). Affectivity and impulsivity: Temperament risk for adolescent alcohol involvement. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 11, 8397.

Cole, D. A., Martin, J. M., Powers, B., & Truglio, R. (1996). Modeling casual relations between academic and social competence and depression: A multitrait-multimethod longitudinal study of children. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 105, 258270.

Cole, D. A., Truglio, R., & Peeke, L. (1997). Relation between symptoms of anxiety and depression in children: A multitrait-multimethod-multigroup assessment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65, 110119.

Compas, B. E. (1987). Coping with stress during childhood and adolescence. Psychological Bulletin, 101, 393403.

Compas, B. E., Connor-Smith, J. K., Saltzman, H., Thomsen, A. H., & Wadsworth, M. E. (2001). Coping with stress during childhood and adolescence: Problems, progress, and potential in theory and research. Psychological Bulletin, 127, 87127.

Conger, R. D., Conger, K. J., Elder, G. H., Jr., Lorenz, F. O., Simons, R. L., & Whitbeck, L. B. (1993). Family economic stress and adjustment of early adolescent girls. Developmental Psychology, 29, 206219.

Curran, P., & Chassin, L. (1996). A longitudinal study of parenting as a protective factor for children of alcoholics. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 57, 305313.

Eiden, R. D., Edwards, E. P., & Leonard, K. E. (2002). Mother–infant and father–infant attachment among alcoholic families. Development and Psychopathology, 14, 253278.

Eiden, R. D., Edwards, E. P, & Leonard, K. E. (2004). Predictors of effortful control among children of alcoholic and nonalcoholic fathers. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 65, 309319.

Eiden, R. D., & Leonard, K. E. (1996). Parent–infant interactions among families with alcoholic fathers. Development and Psychopathology, 11, 745762.

Eiden, R. D., & Leonard, K. E. (2000). Paternal alcoholism, parental psychopathology, and aggravation with infants. Journal of Substance Abuse, 11, 1729.

Eisenberg, N., Cumberland, A., & Spinrad, T. L. (1998). Parental socialization of emotion. Psychological Inquiry, 9, 241273.

Eisenberg, N., Fabes, R. A., Guthrie, I. K., & Reiser, M. (2000). Dispositional emotionality and regulation: Their role in predicting quality of social functioning. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 136157.

Eisenberg, N., Fabes, R. A., & Murphy, B. C. (1996). Parents' reactions to children's negative emotions: Relations to children's social competence and comforting behavior. Child Development, 67, 22272247.

Eisenberg, N., Fabes, R. A., Shepard, S. A., Guthrie, I. K., Murphy, B. C., & Reiser, M. (1999). Parental reactions to children's negative emotions: Longitudinal relations to quality of children's social functioning. Child Development, 70, 513534.

Eisenberg, N., Gershoff, E. T., Fabes, R. A., Shepard, S. A., Cumberland, A. J., Lososya, S. H.,et al. (2001). Mothers' emotional expressivity and children's behavior problems and social competence: Mediation through children's regulation. Developmental Psychology, 37, 475490.

Eisenberg, N., Valiente, C., Morris, A. S., Fabes, R. A., Cumberland, A., Reiser, M.,et al. (2003). Longitudinal relations among parental emotional expressivity, children's regulation, and quality of socioemotional functioning. Developmental Psychology, 39, 219.

El-Sheikh, M., & Buckhalt, J. A. (2003). Parental problem drinking and children's adjustment: Attachment and family functioning as moderators and mediators of risk. Journal of Family Psychology, 17, 510520.

Furman, W., & Buhrmeister, D. (1985). Children's perceptions of the personal relationships in their social networks. Developmental Psychology, 21, 10161024.

Giancola, P., Moss, H., Martin, C., Kirisci, L., & Tarter, R. (1996). Executive cognitive functioning predicts reactive aggression in boys at high risk for substance abuse: A prospective study. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 20, 740744.

Grant, K. E., Compas, B. E., Stuhlmacher, A. F., Thurm, A. E., McMahon, S. D., & Halpert, J. A. (2003). Stressors and child and adolescent psychopathology: Moving from markers to mechanisms of risk. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 447466.

Hardy, D. F., Power, T. G., & Jaedicke, S. (1993). Examining the relation of parenting to children's coping with everyday stress. Child Development, 64, 18291841.

Harter, S. L. (2000). Psychosocial adjustment of adult children of alcoholics: A review of the recent empirical literature. Clinical Psychology Review, 20, 311337.

Keenan, K., & Shaw, D. (1997). Developmental and social influences on young girls' early problem behavior. Psychological Bulletin, 121, 95113.

Kliewer, W., Fearnow, M. D., & Miller, P. A. (1996). Coping socialization in middle childhood: Tests of maternal and paternal influences. Child Development, 67, 23392357.

Lengua, L. J., Wolchik, S. A., Sandler, I. N., & West, S. G. (2000). The additive and interactive effects of parenting and temperament in predicting adjustment problems of children of divorce. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 29, 232244.

Lochman, J. E., & Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (1995). Screening of child behavior problems at school entry. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 63, 549559.

MacKinnon, D. P., Lockwood, C. M., Hoffman, J. M., West, S. G., & Sheets, V. (2002). A comparison of methods to test mediation and other intervening variable effects. Psychological Methods, 7, 83104.

Peterson, J., & Pihl, R. (1990). Information processing, neuropsychological function, and the inherited predisposition to alcoholism. Neuropsychology Review, 1, 343369.

Puttler, L. I., Zucker, R. A., Fitzgerald, H. E., & Bingham, C. R. (1998). Behavioral outcomes among children of alcoholics during the early and middle childhood years: Familial subtype variations. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 22, 19621972.

Robins, L. N., Helzer, J. E., Croughan, J. L., & Ratcliff, K. S. (1981). National Institute of Mental Health Diagnostic Interview Schedule: Its history, characteristics, and validity. Archives of General Psychiatry, 38, 381389.

Ruchkin, V. V., Eisemann, M., & Hagglof, B. (1999). Coping styles in delinquent adolescents and controls: The role of personality and parental rearing. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 28, 705717.

Sandler, I. N., Tein, J-Y., Mehta, P., Wolchik, S., & Ayers, T. (2000). Coping efficacy and psychological problems of children of divorce. Child Development, 71, 10991118.

Sandler, I. N., Tein, J-Y., & West, S. G. (1994). Coping, stress, and the psychological symptoms of children of divorce: A cross-sectional and longitudinal study. Child Development, 65, 17441763.

Schaefer, E. S. (1965). Children's reports of parental behavior: An inventory. Child Development, 36, 413424.

Strayhorn, J. M., & Weidman, C. S. (1988). A parent practices scale and its relation to parent and child mental health. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 27, 613618.

Thomas, A. M., Forehand, R., Armistead, L., Wierson, M., & Fauber, R. (1990). Cross-informant consistency in externalizing and internalizing problems in early adolescence. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 12, 255262.

West, M. O., & Prinz, R. J. (1987). Parental alcoholism and childhood psychopathology. Psychological Bulletin, 102, 204218.

Wolchik, S. A., Wilcox, K. L., Tein, J-Y., & Sandler, I. N. (2000). Maternal acceptance and consistency of discipline as buffers of divorce stressors on children's psychological adjustment problems. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 28, 87102.

Wolfradt, U., Hempel, S., & Miles, J. (2003). Perceived parenting styles, depersonalization, anxiety and coping behaviors in adolescents. Personality and Individual Differences, 34, 521532.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Development and Psychopathology
  • ISSN: 0954-5794
  • EISSN: 1469-2198
  • URL: /core/journals/development-and-psychopathology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 17
Total number of PDF views: 82 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 370 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 17th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.