Coping theories and their underlying dimensions: A reevaluation using concept mapping



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Texas Tech University


Many studies have explored the connection between stress and illness and concluded that mediating factors play an important part in the process. One mediating factor, coping, has experienced increased theoretical and empirical interest recently. Four coping process theories are reviewed and some similarities and differences are noted. Coping measures based on these theories are also reviewed with a focus on their development.

Methodological diversity, including more descriptive studies, yields more useful and important information about phenomena. Concept mapping, a multimethod descriptive research design, is discussed. It is proposed that concept mapping may help clarify the underlying structure of people's perceptions of coping.

Male and female undergraduate students (N = 51) in an introductory psychology course at a large southwestern university completed a three-phase study. An open-ended, thought-listing approach was employed to obtain participants' perceptions of how they have coped with stressful situations. The participants' 569 coping responses were reduced to 110 responses using specific guidelines to control for experimenter bias. Participants then performed an unstructured card sort of the 110 items, labeled the piles, and rated the items on how well the response describes how the participant typically copes with problems. Participants also performed the card sorting and labeling procedures with the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations' (CISS) items.



Stress (Psychology) -- Testing, Adjustment (Psychology)