Date of Conferral







Robin Oatis-Ballew


There is little research on the coping strategies of direct support professional caregivers working with the intellectually disabled (ID) and developmentally disabled (DD). The study was guided by Lazarus and Folkman's (1984) theory of the transactional model of stress and coping. The purpose of this study was to assess whether there is a correlation among the independent variables of coping and personality characteristics with stress as the dependent variable. A convenience sample of 69 professional caregivers was used. Data were collected using the Ways of Coping Questionnaire, Perceived Stress Scale, NEO-FFI-3, and a demographic questionnaire. A correlational analysis was conducted to assess the variables. Findings revealed a moderate correlation between confrontive coping and stress while the coping styles of distancing, self-controlling, and seeking social support were weakly correlated with stress. Additional results were a strong correlation between neuroticism and stress and a moderate correlation between conscientiousness and stress. Furthermore, a multiple regression analysis was conducted to determine if neuroticism, conscientiousness, and extroversion could predict stress. The analysis indicated that the variance in stress was predicted by neuroticism. Recommendations for future research include using a larger sample size, controlling for selection bias, and examining which coping styles are more useful in coping with stressful situations. A longitudinal design to examine cause and effect is also recommended. This study provides insight into the way professional caregivers cope with stress and the results can be used to develop a screening tool.