Contextual and Behavioral Correlates of Coping Strategies Among an Ethnically Diverse Sample of Urban Adolescents in the Midwestern United States

Sonya S. Brady, Elijah F. Jeffries, Willie Winston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Coping is recognized as an important life skill. In the present cross-sectional analysis, early adolescents’ relationships with their caregivers (support, conflict) and exposure to stressors (uncontrollable life events, violence) were examined as contextual correlates of both positive and negative coping strategies. Coping strategies were examined as mediators of associations between adolescents’ family and community contexts and adjustment outcomes (externalizing symptoms, internalizing symptoms, academic investment). Participants were recruited from an urban Pre-K-8 school and Boys and Girls Club. Adolescents who reported greater support from caregivers reported greater engagement in all forms of positive coping (behavioral/problem-focused coping, cognitive/emotion-focused coping, and coping through seeking support); they also reported less engagement in coping through anger and helplessness. Adolescents who reported greater conflict with caregivers or violence exposure reported greater engagement in coping through avoidance, anger, and helplessness. Problem-focused coping, coping through anger, and coping through helplessness mediated associations between different contextual factors and outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalChild psychiatry and human development
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research reported in this publication was supported by the Center for Healthy African American Men through Partnerships (CHAAMPS), funded by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities through a grant from the National Institutes of Health (U54MD008620), as well as the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Content is the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The authors have no financial disclosures to report. The authors gratefully acknowledge participating members, community-based organizations, and families of the Hazel Park Community Coalition; Capetra J. Parker, MPH; Hazel Park Preparatory Academy (an International Baccalaureate World School) and Dr. Delores Henderson, Principal (retired); and the East Side Boys & Girls Club and Mr. Andrew Jones, Branch Director, 2001–2019.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Academic investment
  • Adolescence
  • Community violence
  • Coping
  • Externalizing symptoms
  • Family conflict
  • Internalizing symptoms
  • Life events
  • Social support
  • Stressor

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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