Thursday, May 30, 2019
Pacific N/O (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
This study uses bifactor modeling to examine the mediation effects of coping strategies for the effects of the New Beginning Program (NBP; for children of divorce) and the Family Bereavement Program (FBP; for children experienced parental death) on child behavioral problems. Youth who apply active coping strategies or avoidance coping strategies when facing stressful events. Active coping strategies are theorized as adaptive coping that alleviate negative mental health outcomes while avoidant coping strategies are theorized as maladaptive coping that aggravate negative mental health outcomes. Previous studies of child coping strategies showed that active and avoidant coping were highly and positively correlated (r > .60); yet the associations of these coping constructs with child behavioral problems were in opposite directions (active coping had negative associations; avoidant coping had positive associations). Statistically, we were not certain whether such opposite associations were artifacts due to a multicollinearity issue or a suppression effect. Researchers have created proportion scores to deal with the uncertainties. However, the proportion measures are not independent. The high correlations among the coping strategies may imply the existence of a general factor across coping strategies. The bi-factor modeling approach allows for clear interpretation of the relation between the specific factors of active and avoidant coping over and above the general factor.
Methods: The data are the 240 children from the NBP and 244 children from the FBP. We examine the following two aims. We examine the latent structure of coping strategies with a bifactor modeling approach that separate the general factor from the unique factors of active coping and avoidant coping. Second, we examine how the unique and general factors of coping mediated the intervention effects on child internalizing and externalizing problems, since increasing child effective coping strategies was one of the core intervention components.
Results: Preliminary data analyses with baseline data for both datasets show good fit of the bi-factor model and confirms that avoidant coping strategies were in general not effective coping strategies -- they were associated with higher depression, anxiety, and conduct problems. Active coping had little effects on these behavioral problems above and beyond general coping. Higher use of coping strategies in general were associated with lower depression, anxiety, and conduct problems.
Conclusions: A balanced application of active and avoidance coping strategies (general factor) seems to have positive association while disproportional application of avoidant coping seems to have negative association with child behavioral problems.