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Development and Psychopathology

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Coping -- Psychology, Engagement -- Relationships with teachers, Resilience


Developmentalists have increasingly concluded that systems approaches to resilience provide a useful higher-order home for the study of the development of coping. Building on previous work on the complementarity of resilience and coping, this paper had two goals: (1) to propose a set of strategies for examining the role of coping in processes of resilience, and (2) to test their utility in the academic domain, using poor relationships with the teacher as a risk factor, and classroom engagement as an outcome. This study examined whether coping serves as a: (1) promotive factor, supporting positive development at any level of risk; (2) pathway through which risk contributes to development; (3) protective factor that mitigates the effects of risk; (4) reciprocal process generating risk; (5) mechanism through which other promotive factors operate; (6) mechanism through which other protective factors operate; and (7) participant with other supports that shows cumulative or compensatory effects. Analyses showed that academic coping at this age was primarily a mediator of risk and support, and a promotive factor that added to engagement for students with multiple combinations of risk and support. Implications are discussed, along with next steps in exploring the role of coping in processes of resilience.


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