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Personality may directly facilitate or constrain coping, but relations of personality to coping have been inconsistent across studies, suggesting a need for greater attention to methods and samples. This meta-analysis tested moderators of relations between Big Five personality traits and coping using 2,653 effect sizes drawn from 165 samples and 33,094 participants. Personality was weakly related to broad coping (e.g., Engagement or Disengagement), but all 5 traits predicted specific strategies. Extraversion and Conscientiousness predicted more problem-solving and cognitive restructuring, Neuroticism less. Neuroticism predicted problematic strategies like wishful thinking, withdrawal, and emotion-focused coping but, like Extraversion, also predicted support seeking. Personality more strongly predicted coping in young samples, stressed samples, and samples reporting dispositional rather than situation-specific coping. Daily versus retrospective coping reports and self-selected versus researcher-selected stressors also moderated relations between personality and coping. Cross-cultural differences were present, and ethnically diverse samples showed more protective effects of personality. Richer understanding of the role of personality in the coping process requires assessment of personality facets and specific coping strategies, use of laboratory and daily report studies, and multivariate analyses.


Published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2007, 93(6), pp. 1080–1107