College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

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coping, cluster analysis, poor youth, African American youth, Resilience (Personality trait)


Coping styles of African American youth living in poverty is investigated in order to understand which coping styles are associated with resiliency for the population and expand on previous findings of Gaylord-Harden and colleagues' (2008) coping style cluster analysis of urban African American youth. As part of a larger study, the current study surveyed 143 African American youth on the basis of their coping styles, and ocping groups were compared cross-sectionally on psychological and behavioral outcomes and risk factors. In longitudinal analyses, coping group membership was used to predict later outcomes and risk. Results indicated a three-cluster solution with high, moderate and low use coping groups. Within cluster variation showed that the high use coping group used significantly more Avoidant, Active and Problem-Focused Social Support Seeking than other strategies. Additionally, the low-use coping group showed almost absent use of all types of Social Support Seeking and limited use of Avoidant and Distraction strategies. Coping groups did not differ based on risk assessment and outcomes at Wave 1. However, coping group membership was associated with future externalizing symptoms based on parent report. The importance of coping strategies in resilient outcomes in the short-term and long-term is evaluated. Limitations, strengths and future directions are discussed.