Approach Coping is Associated with Higher Flourishing and Post Traumatic Growth during the lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic

The Covid-19 outbreak changed life for many people with physical distancing, the stress of becoming ill, unprecedented closures, and transitions to online classes and work from home (UNESCO, 2020). Students in particular were challenged with a shift to online settings, which radically changed learning and social interactions. Little is scientifically known about students initially coped (Folkman, 1984; Folkman & Lazarus, 1988) during the pandemic. The current study investigated how four types of coping (approach, avoid, humor, and religion) affected students' flourishing and posttraumatic growth (positive life changes) during the lockdown (April 25-May 8th, 2020) in Southern California. In line with the coping literature (Gustems-Carnicer & Calderon, 2012), we predicted that approach coping would be associated with better student outcomes. Students (N=257) from a Hispanic-Serving Institution in Southern California were recruited via the psychology subject pool to complete an online survey with the brief coping measure (Carver, 1997), Flourishing (Diener & Biwas-Diener, 2009), Post Traumatic Growth Inventory (relating to others subscale, Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1996). Two separate multiple regression analyses showed that the four different coping styles significantly predicted flourishing and PTGI. In line with expectations, results indicated that approach coping was associated with higher flourishing and avoidant coping was associated with lower flourishing. Results also revealed that approach coping was associated with more PTGI and humor coping was associated with less PTGI. These results underline the positive mental health benefits of employing approach coping to support well-being and help spur positive life changes during difficult times.


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