Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

Kerstin E. E. Schroder


Kerstin E. E. Schroder


Martin E. Blair


David W. Bush


M. Scott DeBerard


David M. Stein


The Coping Competence Questionnaire (CCQ), based on the reformulated learned helplessness theory, was designed to assess a general stress resistance versus a propensity towards learned helplessness with a brief, 12-item self-report questionnaire. In this study the CCQ was administered to 247 undergraduate students, who were then paired, in groups of around 24 at a time, and then randomly assigned to either success or failure conditions on the computer game TetraVex. Mood was pretested using the Profile of Mood States (POMS) depression subscale; the experimental condition, success or failure at TetraVex was conducted; then outcome measures including 20 five letter anagrams to test performance and a posttest of the POMS depression subscale testing mood were administered. The first n = 80 participants were administered the anagrams then POMS; then the next n = 167 participants completed the POMS then anagrams. Findings indicate helplessness was induced. A statistically significant main effect of group was found for both performance and mood measures, suggesting those who were exposed to success on the TetraVex puzzles performed better on the anagrams and had lower levels of depressed mood than those who were exposed to failure. A statistically significant main effect of CCQ on mood, indicating high CCQ scores were correlated with better mood, was also found. Three way interactions of CCQ, group, and the order in which the outcome measures were administered suggested that when performance was measured first, the CCQ moderated the relationship between performance outcomes and group in the predicted direction, but when mood was measured first no interaction between performance and group resulted. Additionally, when mood was measured first, the mood effects were greater; however, coping competence, as measured by the CCQ, was inadequate to immediately overcome the frustration induced in the treatment group by TetraVex failure.



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