THE EFFECTS OF COGNITIVE HARDINESS AND COPING STYLE ON PSYCHOLOGICAL AND SOMATIC DISTRESS
 
Thompson, T., Beasley, M. and Davidson, J., University of Tasmania, Australia
 
This study tested direct effects and buffering models in relation to cognitive hardiness and coping for general health and psychological functioning. Mature age university students (N=187; N=81 males, N=106 females) completed measures assessing life event stress and traumatic life experiences (independent variables) cognitive hardiness and coping style (moderator variables), and general health, somatization, anxiety and depression (dependent variables). Results supported a direct effects model of the relationship between life stress and psychological health. Cognitive hardiness, emotion-focused coping, avoidant coping and negative life events all directly impacted on measures of psychological and somatic distress. The buffer or interaction model was also supported in that cognitive hardiness played a moderating role for females in mitigating the effects of negative life events and their impacts on psychological health. Cognitive hardiness also had a buffering effect in reducing the effects of emotion-focused coping on distress for males and females. It also appears that different coping mechanisms operate for each gender in the life stress/psychological health relationship. While females did not use emotion-focused coping any more than men, when they do use it, it worked to their detriment, associated with higher somatisation, anxiety and depression. On the other hand, while males used task-oriented coping to their benefit, associated with lower anxiety scores, social-diversion- oriented coping was associated with elevated psychological symptomatology.