Background. Many studies have shown that problem-focused coping and a positive reappraisal of one’s situation are the most conducive to achieving life goals and psychological well-being, whereas avoidance coping and self-blame have a negative impact on well-being. But there is not enough data on what the predictors of these coping strategies are in the situational context.
Objective. To assess the combined influence of subjective appraisal (uncontrollability, unclearness, negative emotions) and orientations in difficult situations (by drive and rejection) on planful problem solving, positive reappraisal, wishful thinking (fantasizing), and self-blame.
Design. The research has a survey design. The sample consisted of 637 adult participants who analyzed difficult situations in their lives associated with achieving significant life goals of various types (N = 637; 60% female; Mage = 24.2; SD = 6.25). Two alternative structural models were assessed, which include subjective appraisals of the situation (uncontrollability, unclearness, intensity of negative emotions), orientations in difficult situations (drive and rejection), and ways of coping (planful problem-solving, positive reappraisal, wishful thinking, and self-blame).
Results. The first model, in which all cognitive appraisals and orientations in difficult situations directly influence coping strategies, has relatively low fit indices. The second model, in which the influence of cognitive appraisal was partially mediated by orientations in difficult situations, has better fit indices. In life situations involving solution of a difficult task, the strongest predictor of problem-focused coping and positive reappraisal is the “drive” orientation of being attracted to difficulties, which mediates the influence of subjective control and emotions on these ways of coping. An orientation away from difficulties, “rejection,” mediates the influence of unclearness and negative emotions on fantasizing and self-blame. A low level of subjective control directly affects self-blame and the avoidance of problem-solving. Negative emotions are a weak predictor of self-blame.
Conclusion. Interaction between the subject and the situation involves appraisal of difficulty, which influences orientation in difficult situations. In turn, orientations are predictors of coping strategies. The characteristics of the psychological situation determine coping, which may be oriented toward approach to or avoidance of the goal.
Keywords: Cognitive appraisal/ ways of coping/ planful problem-solving/ positive reappraisal/ wishful thinking/ self-blame/ approach coping/ avoidance coping/ life situation