Article

Future-Oriented Thinking, Proactive Coping, and the Management of Potential Threats to Health and Well-Being

Lisa G. Aspinwall

in The Oxford Handbook of Stress, Health, and Coping

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780195375343
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195375343.013.0017

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Future-Oriented Thinking, Proactive Coping, and the Management of Potential Threats to Health and Well-Being

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Proactive coping is the process of anticipating potential stressors and acting in advance either to prevent them or to mute their impact (Aspinwall & Taylor, 1997). This chapter reviews diverse approaches to defining and studying proactivity and highlights applications of the proactive coping concept to the domains of aging, stigma and discrimination, organizational behavior, and health, including genetic testing, health promotion, medical decision-making, and the management of chronic illness. Recent process-oriented interventions demonstrate that proactive approaches to managing health and aging can be taught, with sustained gains in both proactive competence and health outcomes. Continued integration of efforts to understand and improve proactive coping with insights into the social-cognitive processes underlying future-oriented thinking more generally will serve to further inform our understanding of the personal and social resources, individual differences, and component processes that underlie successful proactivity, as will increased attention to the affective and transactional qualities of proactive coping.

Keywords: proactive coping; prevention; future-oriented thinking; self-regulation; aging; discrimination; genetic testing; chronic illness; individual differences; worry

Article.  23637 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Health Psychology ; Social Psychology

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