ORIGINAL PAPER
Negative life events, coping and mental health in middle childhood
 
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Submission date: 2014-12-05
Final revision date: 2015-01-28
Acceptance date: 2015-01-28
Online publication date: 2015-07-21
Publication date: 2015-07-21
 
Health Psychology Report 2015;3(3):201–209
 
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Background
In the period of middle childhood, social experiences (both educational and social) may constitute a critical moment in time for the ultimate results of development in the case of an individual. Negative life events and coping skills may guarantee a positive or negative direction of development, exerting an influence on the mental health of children. In the study, a four-factor model of mental health was adopted, taking into consideration psychopathological symptoms within the scope of externalizing and internalizing disorders, the level of the performance of developmental tasks, and the sense of life satisfaction. The present study investigated the correlation between stress, coping and mental health in children in middle childhood.

Participants and procedure
The study included 182 individuals aged between 9 and 12 years. The following aspects were subjected to assessment: the level of mental health, the number and severity of negative life events, and the strategies of coping with stress. In order to determine the strongest predictors of the four dimensions of mental health of children, hierarchical regression analysis was applied.

Results
It was found that the strongest predictor of mental health of children in the period of middle childhood was individual and accumulated negative stress events. Lower significance was found for the subjective assessment of the severity of events being experienced. It was found that a factor protecting against disorders was active methods of coping.

Conclusions
The study suggests that it is not only psychopathological symptoms that constitute the negative consequence of the effect of stress. Negative stress events influence the positive dimensions of mental health, including the level of performance of developmental tasks and the sense of life satisfaction in children in the period of middle childhood. The obtained results show the specific character of the discussed period of development. However, these issues still need to be explored further.
 
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