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Roussi P , Miller SM , Shoda Y
Discriminative facility in the face of threat: Relationship to psychological distress
Psychology & Health. 2000 ;15(1) :21-33
PMID: ISI:000086000900003   
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This study explored whether discriminative facility in dealing with threatening situations is negatively associated with distress. Discriminative facility entails the ability to (1) "accurately" appraise the controllability of stressors and (2) use more problem-focused relative to emotion-focused coping with controllable stressors and at the same time more emotion- focused relative to problem-focused coping with uncontrollable stressors. We conducted a preliminary study to obtain "accurate" appraisals of the controllability of two stressors. In the main study, college students (N= 109) provided information regarding their appraisal of the controllability of the two stressors, how they coped with these two stressors, and their level of both stressor-specific distress and general distress. The relationship between coping strategy (problem- vs emotion-focused) and stresser-specific distress was found to be a function of the controllability of the stressor. Specifically, with controllable stressors, the high use of problem-focused coping was associated with less distress than the high use of emotion-focused coping. The opposite was found to be the case with uncontrollable stressors. More importantly, discriminative facility was negatively related to general distress. The results suggest that discriminative facility in the appraisal of and coping with stressors is an important mediator in the experience of psychological symptoms as a result of stress.
Times Cited: 3 English Article 296AM PSYCHOL HEALTH