A long and resilient life: the role of coping strategies and variability in their use in lifespan among women

Claudia Trudel-Fitzgerald, Lewina O. Lee, Anne Josée Guimond, Ruijia Chen, Peter James, Hayami K. Koga, Harold H. Lee, Sakurako S. Okuzono, Francine Grodstein, Janet Rich-Edwards, Laura D. Kubzansky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Associations of stress-related coping strategies with lifespan among the general population are understudied. Coping strategies are characterized as being either adaptive or maladaptive, but it is unknown the degree to which variability in tailoring their implementation to different contexts may influence lifespan. Method: Women (N = 54,353; Mage= 47) completed a validated coping inventory and reported covariate information in 2001. Eight individual coping strategies (e.g., Acceptance, Denial) were considered separately. Using a standard deviation-based algorithm, participants were also classified as having lower, moderate, or greater variability in their use of these strategies. Deaths were ascertained until 2019. Accelerated failure time models estimated percent changes and 95% confidence intervals (CI) in predicted lifespan associated with coping predictors. Results: In multivariable models, most adaptive and maladaptive strategies were associated with longer and shorter lifespans, respectively (e.g., per 1-SD increase: Active Coping = 4.09%, 95%CI = 1.83%, 6.41%; Behavioral Disengagement = −6.56%, 95%CI = −8.37%, −4.72%). Moderate and greater (versus lower) variability levels were similarly and significantly related to 8-10% longer lifespans. Associations were similar across age, racial/ethnic, residential income, and marital status subgroups. Conclusions: Findings confirm the adaptive and maladaptive nature of specific coping strategies, and further suggest benefits from both moderate and greater variability in their use for lifespan among women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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