Agentic Personality Characteristics and Coping: Their Relation to Trait Anxiety in College Students

Ingrid K. Weigold, Christine Robitschek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Anxiety and its disorders, often present before adulthood, have high personal and societal costs for men and women. This study tested a mediation model in which 3 forms of coping mediate the relation of 3 agentic personality characteristics (i.e., traits associated with the belief that people can effectively exercise control over their lives) to lower levels of anxiety within 1 subgroup of young adults (i.e., college students). The agentic personality characteristics were (a) hardiness, (b) personal growth initiative, and (c) coping self-efficacy. The forms of dispositional coping were (a) problem-focused, (b) emotion-focused, and (c) avoidant. Results suggest that agentic personality characteristics differentially relate to forms of coping and trait anxiety. In addition, coping appears to fully mediate the relations of the personality characteristics to anxiety. The results imply that agentic personality characteristics and coping are important in decreasing and/or protecting against anxiety, in part because of how they relate to forms of coping, and suggest the need for more research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-264
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Agentic personality characteristics
  • College students
  • Coping
  • Coping self-efficacy
  • Hardiness
  • Personal growth initiative
  • Trait anxiety


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