2021 Undergraduate Research Showcase

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Megan Smith


Adolescence is a critical period for development. Negative life events, such as experiencing violence or getting in an accident, have been associated with depression, suicidal behaviors, and other negative health outcomes like chronic illness or substance use disorder. Research also shows that positive future identity, or a person’s understanding of and commitment to who they might be in the future, has been associated with many positive health outcomes such as academic achievement. We want to explore the potential association between the cumulative total of Negative Life Events an adolescent has experienced, and the adolescent’s problem focused coping skills compared to that person’s perception of their positive future identity. A Bivariate correlation revealed that there is a negative correlation between negative life events and a positive perception of future identity. A hierarchical multiple regression showed that this relationship changed when we added in strong problem focused coping skills. Negative life events, bolstered by those coping skills, lead to a more positive perception of future identity. While negative life events have the potential to harm an adolescent’s perception of their future identity, problem-focused coping skills can help adolescents deal with those negative life events.



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