The order in which you cope matters: An examination of the moderating role of coping sequence on the impact of stressor type on affect
To date, few studies have sought to investigate whether the sequence in which individuals engage in coping strategies could impact the effectiveness of those strategies. The present study utilizes an EMA data collection approach to obtain a sample of N = 93 student participants to investigate this potential impact. I analyzed the data with a type of multilevel structural equation model (MSEM) called a cross-lagged panel model (CLPM), where the individual served as the higher level and surveys collected at various time points (three per day for five consecutive days) served as the lower level nested within those individuals. Autoregressive, cross-lagged, and moderation paths were tested to see which constructs at time point T-1 were significantly related to positive affect and negative affect at time point T. Findings indicated more significant relationships for positive affect at time point T than negative affect at time point T. Among these were moderation effects of coping strategy on the relationship between the presence of an interpersonal stressor and positive affect, such that emotion-focused coping buffers that effect and problem-focused coping amplifies it.