Guilt, Shame, and Empathy as Predictors of Coping Engagement among United States College Students

Elizabeth A. Prosek, Qian Wei, Chelsea M. Scoffone, Diana Gallardo, Amanda L. Giordano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


College students experience a myriad of stressors in their daily lives. These stressors are associated with negative outcomes for students, both to their academics and well-being. Healthy, effective coping strategies may support students in navigating personal distress. One of the primary aspects of counselling is to help clients develop and apply such strategies. This study aimed to identify intrapersonal factors that predict types of coping strategies. Participants (N = 416) identified as undergraduate college students attending a large public university in the southwestern United States. Results indicated that a problem-focused engagement coping strategy was associated with maladaptive factors such as shame and personal distress. Additionally, a problem-focused engagement coping strategy was predicted by potentially more helpful intrapersonal characteristics including guilt (as a motivator) and two dimensions of empathy. Finally, mean comparisons indicated statistically significant differences between identified gender and coping strategies. Implications for college counsellors are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal for the Advancement of Counselling
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)

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