Examining Associations between Coping with Stress and Personality and Psychopathology Assessed by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2-Restructured Form
Ashley M. Holbert
Kent State University
Empirical research has demonstrated associations to be present between personality characteristics and dispositional and situational coping responses. For example, numerous researchers have linked Five Factor Model (FFM; Costa & McCrae, 1985) constructs to various dispositional coping strategies (McWilliams, Cox, & Enns, 2003) and situational coping responses (Bouchard, Guillemette, & Landry-Leger, 2004). Similarly, previous research has also demonstrated associations to be present between dispositional and situational coping and psychopathology. In particular, research findings have indicated that both dispositional and situational coping responses are linked to general psychological distress and specific psychological disorders (Punamaki, et al., 2008; Segal, Hook, & Coolidge, 2001; Vollrath, Alnaes, & Torgersen, 1996). However, much of the previous research has focused narrowly on particular personality traits (i.e., FFM) or certain psychological disorders (i.e., PTSD; depression). Thus, the current study aims to expand on previous empirical research by examining the univariate and multivariate associations between dispositional and situational coping responses and a wider array personality and psychopathology constructs, such as those assessed by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2-Restructured Form (MMPI-2-RF; Ben-Porath & Tellegen, 2008/2011; Tellegen & Ben-Porath, 2008/2011). Participants included 116 men and 227 women, with ages ranging from 18 to 43 years (M = 19.4; SD = 2.3), and these individuals were enrolled in undergraduate courses at a large Midwestern university. Participants completed the MMPI-2, a demographic questionnaire, and a set of extra-test measures. Results of the univariate analyses demonstrated significant associations to be present between many MMPI-2-RF scales and the scales of the RSI-D and RSI-S. However, fewer statistically significant associations were demonstrated between the various MMPI-2-RF and RSI-S scales overall and the associations demonstrated were somewhat smaller in magnitude than those demonstrated with the RSI-D scales. Regarding multivariate analyses, the results conveyed that personality and psychopathology constructs, assessed by the MMPI-2-RF scales, significantly predicted various dispositional and situational coping responses, as measured by the RSI scales. However, the personality and psychopathology constructs typically more strongly predicted scores on the RSI-D scales as compared to the RSI-S scales. Furthermore, the multivariate analyses also illustrated that situational characteristics, such as the confrontability, timing, duration, or type/category of the stressful situation, significantly predicted and added incrementally in the prediction of the situational coping responses of the RSI-S, beyond the variance accounted for by the personality and psychopathology constructs. Overall, emotional/internalizing personality and psychopathology constructs were most often associated with dispositional and situational coping strategies at the univariate and multivariate levels.