The most general aim of the research is to learn about coping with stress in everyday life, with special emphasis on constructive thinking, defined as the ability to solve problems in living at a minimal cost in stress. The Constructive Thinking Inventory (CTI) has been shown to be related to mental and physical health and the successful work, love, and social relations. It is distinct from intellective intelligence and is unrelated to academic achievement. A 5-year study will be conducted in which students in small classes in coping with stress will be trained to keep records of their daily stressful experiences, recording, on special forms, their emotions, stress reactions, and automatic construals of and mental and behavioral reactions to potential stressors. Physiological responses will be obtained following a stress test and under repeated baseline conditions. Factor analysis will determine to what extent the structure of constructive thinking indicated in construals and coping reactions in everyday life data parallels that of the CTI structure. Habitual ways of construing and coping mental and physical well-being. The data will be analyzed by intersubject and composite intrasubject analysis, thereby providing information on individual differences as well as on the organization of variables within individuals. This program for improving constructive thinking will be evaluated. A series of studies will examine the sources and correlates of constructive thinking. Including 1) the developmental course of constructive thinking over the life-span. 2) the symptoms of different mental disorders. 3) the influence of specific experiences in the work place, the college environment, and the family on constructive and destructive thinking, and 4) constructive thinking as a moderator of the effects of stress and """"""""productive load"""""""" on well-being. The results of this research will not only be valuable in its own right, but will contribute to the Pl's development of a new theory of personality.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Scientist Award (K05)
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Research Scientist Development Review Committee (MHK)
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University of Massachusetts Amherst
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Epstein, Seymour; Epstein, Martha L (2016) An Integrative Theory of Psychotherapy: Research and Practice. J Psychother Integr 26:116-128
Norris, Paul; Epstein, Seymour (2011) An experiential thinking style: its facets and relations with objective and subjective criterion measures. J Pers 79:1043-79
Pacini, R; Muir, F; Epstein, S (1998) Depressive realism from the perspective of cognitive-experiential self-theory. J Pers Soc Psychol 74:1056-68
Morling, B; Epstein, S (1997) Compromises produced by the dialectic between self-verification and self-enhancement. J Pers Soc Psychol 73:1268-83
Epstein, S; Pacini, R; Denes-Raj, V et al. (1996) Individual differences in intuitive-experiential and analytical-rational thinking styles. J Pers Soc Psychol 71:390-405
Denes-Raj, V; Epstein, S (1994) Conflict between intuitive and rational processing: when people behave against their better judgment. J Pers Soc Psychol 66:819-29
Epstein, S (1994) Integration of the cognitive and the psychodynamic unconscious. Am Psychol 49:709-24
Kirkpatrick, L A; Epstein, S (1992) Cognitive-experiential self-theory and subjective probability: further evidence for two conceptual systems. J Pers Soc Psychol 63:534-44
Epstein, S; Lipson, A; Holstein, C et al. (1992) Irrational reactions to negative outcomes: evidence for two conceptual systems. J Pers Soc Psychol 62:328-39
Epstein, S; Katz, L (1992) Coping ability, stress, productive load, and symptoms. J Pers Soc Psychol 62:813-25

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