For each of 3 event categories (harm/loss, threat, challenge), with a 6-week test-retest time interval, female undergraduates were randomly assigned to report on coping efforts (problem- vs. emotion-focused coping) for the same stressful event or a different stressful event across the 2 sessions. For problem-focused coping and each category of stressor, test-retest correlations were strongest when subjects reported on coping efforts for the same situation but were still of moderate size and significant for reports of coping with different stressful situations. This difference between conditions was found only for the challenge stressor for emotion-focused coping. These findings imply that stressor context, type of coping, and response tendencies across different stressors relate to the reliability of self-reported coping efforts.
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