Cognitive coping strategies and symptoms of depression and anxiety: a comparison between adolescents and adults

N Garnefski*, J Legerstee, V Kraaij, T Van Den Kommer, J Teerds

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

355 Citations (Scopus)


The present study focused on comparability of adolescents and adults in the reporting of cognitive coping strategies and their relationship to symptoms of depression and anxiety. Two samples were included: 487 adolescents attending a secondary school and 630 adults from a general practitioners practice. Data were obtained on symptoms of depression and anxiety and the use of nine cognitive coping strategies: acceptance, catastrophizing, other-blame, positive reappraisal, putting into perspective, refocus on planning, positive refocusing, rumination and self-blame. The results showed that all cognitive coping strategies were reported by adolescents to a significantly lesser extent than by adults. Further, it was shown that both in adolescents and adults a considerable percentage of the variance in symptomatology was explained by the use of cognitive coping strategies. Although adolescents and adults differed in relative strength of the relationships, generally speaking, conclusions were the same: in both groups, the cognitive coping strategies self-blame, rumination, catastrophizing and positive reappraisal were shown to play the most important role in the reporting of symptoms of psychopathology, showing the importance of introducing prevention and intervention programmes at an early stage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-611
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2002

Bibliographical note

Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.


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