An Application of Concepts from the Cobb Model to Female Coping with Mid-Life Events

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This study examined the relationship among social situation variables, selected personality variables, and how a woman in mid-life copes with a major life event. Specifically, this study considered relationships among Myers-Briggs Type Indicator continua, social support, choices and assessments a woman makes in coping with a life event. The subjects were 102 women, aged thirty-five to fifty-five, who had experienced a life event (e.g:, divorce, health problems, job loss, etc.) in the past three years. Subjects completed instruments on their background; personality (MBTI); type of events involved; responses to these events; quantity, quality, and types of social support used; and current life situation assessment. T Tests were computed using the Extraversion/Introversion MBTI continuum with quantity and quality of resources used. T Tests were also computed using subjects' scores on quality of resources with life assessment variables. Multiple Analysis of Variance was used to test new constructs developed from the Critical Response List with the MBTI Scales. Two specific hypotheses and three questions were studied. Hypothesis 1 stated that extraverts would report being helped by more people and helped more by people when compared to introverts. Differences between the two groups were not significant. The t Test on extraversion and quantity of help approached significance; the part of the hypothesis testing extraversion and quality of help was rejected. Hypothesis 2 stated that subjects having better quality of support would report better life situations than would subjects with poorer quality of support. While the difference between the two groups was not significant, the t Tests did approach significance. Other questions which tested for coping response differences between groups on the other three scales of the MBTI found no significant differences, indicating that the MBTI scales did not discriminate among the coping responses of the subjects. One sub-group, judging, rated their quality of emotional support received as much higher (.0046) than did perceivers. These results lend little support to the idea that there are significant relationships among MBTI continua, social support, and how a woman copes with a life event. The study did find that subjects mainly used family and friends for support while working though a life event and that over 90% of the women reported that emotional support was the most important kind of support.