Youth in foster care tend to experience a disproportional number of adverse life experiences and demonstrate high rates of emotional and behavioral difficulties. According to the transactional model of stress and coping, how youth appraise their experiences influences the type of coping strategies they use in response to adversity, and these relations are key components to understanding later adjustment. However, few studies have examined potential effects of appraisal on coping for youth in foster care. Furthermore, it is not well understood if or how such interaction may vary across age. To address this gap, this study examined potential age moderation of contemporaneous primary, threat-based appraisal effects on coping in a large sample of 490 youth in foster care (48% female, ages 8 to 18) using a series of statistical models which were capable of detecting very general forms of effect moderation. Results indicated that primary appraisal positively predicted direct and prosocial coping, and negatively predicted asocial coping. The linear effects of appraisal on coping did not vary based on age of the youth. The findings suggest that primary appraisals of life events for youth in foster care does have a unique influence on certain coping styles, suggesting perhaps new directions for research on youth exposed to multiple adversities. To promote wider use of the non-parametric time-varying effect model in R, the analysis syntax is also included in the appendix.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science