Searching for the Structure of Coping: A Review and Critique of Category Systems for Classifying Ways of Coping

University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, United States
Psychological Bulletin (Impact Factor: 14.76). 04/2003; 129(2):216-69. DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.129.2.216
Source: PubMed


From analyzing 100 assessments of coping, the authors critiqued strategies and identified best practices for constructing category systems. From current systems, a list of 400 ways of coping was compiled. For constructing lower order categories, the authors concluded that confirmatory factor analysis should replace the 2 most common strategies (exploratory factor analysis and rational sorting). For higher order categories, they recommend that the 3 most common distinctions (problem- vs. emotion-focused, approach vs. avoidance, and cognitive vs. behavioral) no longer be used. Instead, the authors recommend hierarchical systems of action types (e.g., proximity seeking, accommodation). From analysis of 6 such systems, 13 potential core families of coping were identified. Future steps involve deciding how to organize these families, using their functional homogeneity and distinctiveness, and especially their links to adaptive processes.

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Available from: Ellen Skinner, Jan 13, 2015
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    • "In this regard, an extensive study by Skinner et al. (2003) identified more than 400 lower order ways of coping that belong to 12 higher order categories or coping families; each family includes strategies divided in affective, behavioural and orientation or cognitive dimensions. In turn, the 12 families were considered to serve a smaller set of higher order categories, implying three main adaptive functions: (a) adaptive processes that coordinate an individual's actions with the contingencies in the environment, (b) adaptive processes that coordinate the individual's reliance on others with the social resources in the environment, and (c) adaptive processes that coordinate an individual's preferences with the options available in the environment. "
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    ABSTRACT: Sentiment analysis techniques are increasingly used to grasp reactions from social media users to unexpected and potentially stressful social events. This paper argues that, alongside assessments of the affective valence of social media content as negative or positive, there is a need for a deeper understanding of the context in which reactions are expressed and the specific functions that users' emotional states may reflect. To demonstrate this, we present a qualitative analysis of affective expressions on Twitter collected in Germany during the 2011 EHEC food contamination incident based on a coding scheme developed from Skinner et al.'s (2003) coping classification framework. Affective expressions of coping were found to be diverse not only in terms of valence but also in the adaptive functions they served: beyond the positive or negative tone, some people perceived the outbreak as a threat while others as a challenge to cope with. We discuss how this qualitative sentiment analysis can allow a better understanding of the way the overall situation is perceived – threat or challenge – and the resources that individuals experience having to cope with emerging demands.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2016 · Computers in Human Behavior
    • "Such an approach has neglected the multivariate nature of coping and prevented researchers to explore the proposition that individuals may use simultaneously multiple coping strategies (Lazarus, 1999). However, several scholars have provided evidence that individuals use most of the time several coping strategies (from distinct dimensions of coping) in response to a particular stressor (e.g., Matheson & Anisman, 2003; Skinner et al., 2003). As a result, distinct coping strategies can coexist within each individual in a given situation but to a varying degree. "
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies neglected the multivariate nature of the coping construct. The purposes of the current study were to: (a) identify coping profiles within a naturalistic achievement-related demanding situation (sport competition) characterized by an anticipatory and a performance stage; (b) examine the issue of consistency or change of coping profiles for the same individual over time (before and during competition); and (c) explore whether coping profiles were associated with key theoretical covariates from a transactional perspective of coping (intensity and directional interpretation of affective states). Latent profile transition analysis revealed four distinct coping profiles as a whole: Low coping, active coping, high coping (T1 only), and moderate coping (T2 only) profiles. Coping profiles exhibited both stability and changes over time from an intra-individual perspective. Athletes from the low coping and moderate coping profiles were characterized by the worst and best psychological adjustment respectively, as indicated by their scores on affective states. As a whole, a coping profile approach may prove useful in understanding coping as a dynamic system and have implications for intervention.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2016
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    • "However, we found only one study which showed the positive effect of satisfaction with health services on life satisfaction (Sirgy, Mentzer, Rahtz, & Meadow, 1991). Regarding coping behaviors, numerous types of coping have been described in the literature (Skinner, Edge, Altman, & Sherwood, 2003). Most refer to reactive patterns of coping, portraying adaptive behaviors displayed after a stressful event has occurred. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: The aim of this study was to test a conceptual model designed to promote the understanding of factors influencing subjective well-being (SWB) in old age. Within this framework, we evaluated the relative influences on elderly Israelis' SWB of health and/or function, personal resources, coping behaviors (reactive and proactive), and changes in all of these factors over time. Method: At baseline, 1216 randomly selected elderly persons (75+) were interviewed at home (T1) and 1019 one year later (T2). The conceptual model was evaluated by Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) analysis using AMOS 18. Results: After one year, a relatively high percentage of participants reported decline in health/function (DHF) and in personal resources. The effects of the study variables on T2-SWB were evaluated by a SEM analysis, resulting in a satisfying fit: χ(2) = 279.5 (df = 102), p < .001, CFI = .970, NFI = .954, TLI = .955, RMSEA = .046. In addition to significant direct effects of health/function on T2-SWB, health/function was found to indirectly influence T2-SWB. Our analysis showed that health/function had a negative influence on the positive effects of personal resources (function self-efficacy, social support) and the diverse effects of the coping patterns (goal-reengagement - positive; expectations for future care needs - negative; having concrete plans for future care - positive). Conclusion: Personal resources and use of appropriate coping behaviors enable elderly people to control their well-being even in the presence of DHF. Evidence-based interventions can help older people to acquire and/or strengthen effective personal resources and coping patterns, thus, promoting their SWB.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2016 · Aging and Mental Health
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