A model of the effects of
children's temperament (negative and positive emotionality, impulsivity and attention
focusing) on post-divorce threat appraisals, coping (active and avoidant), and psychological
symptoms (depression and conduct problems) was investigated. The study utilized a sample of
223 mothers and children (ages 9 to 12 years) who had experienced divorce within the last two
years. Evidence was found of direct effects of child-report negative emotionality on
children's threat perceptions and of child-report positive emotionality and impulsivity on
children's coping. Indirect effects of negative emotionality on active and avoidant coping
through threat appraisal were found. Direct effects of the temperament variables on symptoms
were also found. Cross group analyses indicated that the models were robust to age differences,
but gender differences were found in the relation between negative emotionality and depression.
The results of this study indicate that temperament and threat appraisals are important predictors
of children's post-divorce symptoms, and that temperament is a predictor of
children's appraisal and coping process.