My journey in the field of stress and coping began in the mid 1980s when I was researching the rather new field of childhood depression. It was a relatively under-explored field, and as a clinical and educational psychologist it was becoming increasingly apparent that there were concerns of young people, with some of these reflected in their experiences of sadness and despair. However, as I researched and measured the depression construct, I became aware of despair as a growing phenomenon, with an increased focus and emphasis on stress, anxiety and depression. In time, the statistics would bear out the concerns, as one in four young people have identified as being or are likely to be depressed in their lifetime in some Western communities like Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom (WHO, 2018). Given the growing ‘ill health’ of our Western communities, something had to change. In the 1980s, young people were concerned about their future with the fear of nuclear war. As I was writing this invited retrospective in late 2019, there were widespread concerns about global warming, and in the first half of 2020 concerns arising from the pandemic of COVID-19 are dominating. Coping theory research and practice can make a significant contribution to how we cope with our world in general and the specifics of our lives in particular. This article reports a body of work in the field of coping to illustrate the value of the core constructs and their applications in diverse settings providing opportunities for helpful adaptation and development in the face of whatever circumstances arise.