How Antisocial an d Prosocial Coping Influence
the Suppor t Process Am on g Men an d Wom en
in the U.S. Postal Service
Jean nin e Mon n ier
Medical University of Sou th Carolin a
Brenda K. Ston e, Stevan E. Hob foll, an d Rober t J. John son
Kent State Un iversity
The influence of an tisocial and prosocial copin g on the acquisition of social
support an d on subsequ en t psychological distress am ong 67 male an d 47
female postal em ployees was exam ined allowing gender differences in coping
to be studied in a single work setting. Seven ty seven percent of the respondents
were European American, 18% were African Am erican , and the remain ing
5% were of varyin g ethn icities includ ing: Asian American an d Latin Am erican .
Employing structural equ ation m odelin g, wom en were fou nd to use prosocial
coping as a coping response significan tly m ore than men, and men were found
to use an tisocial coping as a coping respon se significan tly more than women.
Prosocial strategies were related to in creased workplace social support in both
the short-term an d long-term . Antisocial copin g strategies were related to less
support from co-workers in the short-term. Contrary to predictions, antisocial
coping strategies were not related to decreased support across time. Finally,
increased social support was related to less psychological distress within each
assessm ent period.
Coping is not only a behavior that people display whe n e ncounte ring sig-
nificant stress, but is a ge ne ral way of addre ssing everyday life challe nge s
(Carve r, Sche ie r, & Weintraub, 1989; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984; McCrae
& Costa, 1986; Zeidne r & Endle r, 1996) . Effective coping behavior is re-
Sex Roles, Vol. 39, Nos. 1/2, 1998
1998 Plenum Pub lish ing Corporation
To who m correspondence should be addre sse d at National Crime V ictim s Rese arch and
Treatme nt Center, De partmen t of Psychiatry and Behavioral Scie nces, Me dical University of
South Carolina, 171 Ashle y Avenue, Charleston, SC 29425-0742.