Master's Theses

Date of Award

Spring 1988

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Richard P. Schellenberg

Abstract

The main problem of this research was the study of relationships between perceived self-efficacy and coping. Relationships between self-efficacy and irrational thought patterns were also studied. Although it has been shown that persons who are highly self-effacious effectively deal with life stressors, there appears to be no knowledge of the specific ways in which such persons cope. Hypothesis I: There is a positive relationship between perceived self-efficacy with respect to dealing with a significant stressor and the following coping mechanisms: perseverance, positive thinking, self-adaptation, rational action, and restraint. Hypothesis II: There is a negative relationship between perceived self-efficacy with respect to dealing with a significant stressor and the following coping mechanisms: escapist fantasy, self-blame, passivity, indecisiveness, sedation, and hostile reaction. Hypothesis III: There is a positive relationship between perceived self-efficacy with respect to dealing with a significant stressor and the complexity of coping responses used, as indicated by the number of different coping mechanisms employed to deal with that stressor. Hypothesis IV: There is a negative relationship between perceived self-efficacy with respect to dealing with a significant stressor and the level of endorsement of irrational beliefs. Hypothesis V: There is a positive relationship between perceived self-efficacy with respect to dealing with a significant stressor and how effectively this stressor was dealt with in the past. A sample of university students was used to study the above hypotheses. These subjects participated in a research procedure that consisted of two phases. In the first phase subjects were asked to identify the most stressful encounter that they knew they would face in the next 2 weeks. They were then asked to indicate their degree of perceived self-efficacy to deal effectively with the stressor. In this phase they were also administered the Irrational Beliefs Test (Jones, 1969, 1977), a measure of irrational thought patterns. In Phase 2 subjects were asked to think about the stressor they chose in Phase 1 and then asked to think about the stressor they chose in Phase 1 and then asked to respond to the Coping Mechanism Scale (McCrae, 1984), in order to indicate the ways in which they coped with the stressor. The Coping Mechanism Scale consists of the revised Ways of Coping checklist (Folkman & Lazarus, 1985b) and the Coping Questionnaire checklist (McCrae, 1984, undated). In Phase 2 participants of the study were again asked to indicate the degree of their perceived self-efficacy with respect to the stressor if they were faced with it again in the near future. The results of the study did not support Hypothesis I, II, or III. Hypothesis IV and V, on the other hand, were strongly supported. There was a negative relationship between self-efficacy and the endorsement of irrational belief patterns. This finding suggest that people who are highly self-effacious tend to have a lower level of endorsement of irrational belief patterns. Hypothesis V was supported by the observation of a strong positive relationship between subjects’ second (Phase 2) assessment of self-efficacy and their judgments as to how well they thought they had handled the stressor and how well they thought the stressful situation turned out.

Rights

Copyright 1988 David Scott Anderson

Comments

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