Myers-Briggs personality type and adolescent coping in the college search

Thomas Courtenay Golden, Purdue University


The college choice requires the adolescent to gather and synthesize vast amounts of information, reconcile sometimes competing personal and familial goals, and manage a range of emotions. This decision process represents a major developmental crisis with which the adolescent must cope. Scholars have noted that psychological strain and heightened anxiety may commonly accompany the college search. One explanation for the adverse reactions some adolescents have to the college search is that some employ less effective coping strategies to manage their emotions and behaviors to address or adapt to the stress of this major decision than others. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the nature of the relationship between Myers-Briggs personality preferences and college search related coping behaviors in a sample (n=285) of 11 th and 12th grade students at a high school in central Tennessee. ^ Participants completed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Form M, and the Response to Stress Questionnaire (Connor-Smith, Compas, Wadsworth, Thomsen, & Saltzman, 2000). Statistical procedures used were independent sample t-tests, Pearson bivariate correlation analyses and hierarchical multiple linear regression analyses in which a series of possible confounding descriptor variables (gender, ethnicity, first-generation college student status, high school grades, and ACT/SAT scores) were entered in the model first as a block to isolate the unique variance contributed by MBTI personality on the prediction of coping behaviors.^ T-testing showed significant differences (and moderate effect sizes) between introverts and extraverts on disengagement coping, and between judging and perceiving preferences on secondary coping. In addition, introversion positively correlated (while extraversion negatively correlated) to disengagement coping. A significant amount of variance was accounted for in a model predicting primary coping utilizing the judging/perceiving preference scale. In addition, the extraversion/introversion preference scale contributed significantly to the prediction of disengagement coping. Overall regression model effect sizes were small. Findings were interpreted and applied to the secondary and post-secondary educational settings.^




Deborah E. Bennett, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Education, Educational Psychology|Psychology, Personality|Education, Higher

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