Personality predictors of preschool children's styles of coping with daily hassles

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between temperament and styles of coping with daily hassles. Parents of 86 four-year-old children attending preschools and child care centers located in Southwest Virginia completed measures of temperament and coping.

The Behavioral Style Questionnaire (BSQ), designed by Carey and McDevitt, was used to assess each child's temperament. Responses were used to categorize children as having easy, difficult, slow-to-warm-up, or intermediate temperaments. The Coping Styles Inventory for Preschool Children (CSIPC) was developed by the researcher to provide a profile of each child's coping style among the techniques of feeling, thinking, acting, and reacting.

Once the data were collected, numerous statistical procedures were performed. These included Pearson Product Moment Correlations, Analyses of Variance, and Chi-squares. The findings indicated that children with difficult temperaments employed cognitive, or thinking, styles of coping when confronted with daily hassles.

A better understanding of how children with different temperaments cope with hassles, and stress in general, should enable parents, child care workers, and all those working closely with children to communicate with them more effectively. New and improved methods for instructing children on effective coping techniques can be developed and implemented when professionals have a more accurate perception of the predominant methods currently used by these children.