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Coping strategy (coping mechanism) is a natural or learned way of responding to

a changing environment or specific problem or situation.


Coping can be adaptive or maladaptive. Adaptive coping helps the person to deal
effectively with stressful events and minimizes distress associated with them.
Maladaptive coping can result in unnecessary distress for the person and others
associated with the person or stressful event.
Early on, Lazarus and Folkman (1984) and their colleagues made a basic
distinction between problem-focused coping and emotion- focused coping. Problem
focused coping may entail taking steps to remove the stressor, or evade its arrival, or to
reduce its physical contact. Emotion-focused coping stems from the fact that stress
experiences generally lead to emotional distress. Emotion-focused coping is aimed at
preventing, minimizing, or reducing this distress.

According to COPE inventory by Charles S. Carver (1989), Problemfocused


copingincludesActivecoping,planning,suppressionofcompetingactivities,restraint
copingandseekingofsocialsupportforinstrumentalreasons.
Activecoping istheprocessoftakingactivestepstotrytoremoveorcircumventthe
stressor or to ameliorate its effects. Active coping includes initiating direct action,
increasingone'sefforts,andtryingtoexecuteacopingattemptinstepwisefashion.
Planning isthinkingabouthowtocopewithastressor.Planninginvolvescomingup
with action strategies, thinking about what steps to take and how best to handle the
problem.

Suppressionofcompetingactivities means puttingotherprojects aside,tryingto


avoidbecomingdistractedbyotherevents,evenlettingotherthingsslide,ifnecessary,in
ordertodealwiththestressor.

Restraint coping is waiting until an appropriate opportunity to act presents itself,

holdingoneselfback,andnotactingprematurely.Thisisanactivecopingstrategyin
thesensethattheperson'sbehaviorisfocusedondealingeffectivelywiththestressor,but
itisalsoapassivestrategyinthesensethatusingrestraintmeansnotacting.

Seekingsocialsupportforinstrumentalreasons isseekingadvice,assistance,or
information.

Emotionfocusedcopingincludesseekingsocialsupportforemotionalreasons,
positivereinterpretationandgrowth,denial,acceptance,turningtoreligion,andhumor.
(Carver,et.Al1989)

Seekingsocialsupportforemotionalreasons isgettingmoralsupport,sympathy,
orunderstanding.

Positive reinterpretation and growth is a type of emotion focused coping: coping


aimedatmanagingdistressemotionsratherthanatdealingwiththestressor.

Denialare reportsofrefusaltobelievethatthestressorexistsoroftryingtoactas
thoughthestressorisnotreal.

Acceptanceisacceptingtherealityofastressfulsituationinwhichstressorissomething
that must beaccommodated, as supposed tocircumstances in which the stressorcan
easilybechanged.
Turningtoreligionforemotionalsupport,asavehicleforpositivereinterpretationand
growth,orasatacticofactivecopingwithastressor.
Humorinvolvesmakinglightoftheproblem.
Asanextension,thesaidinventoryalsoidentifiesthelesshelpfulwaysofcoping
whichincludesfocusingonandventingofemotions,behavioraldisengagement,mental
disengagement,andsubstanceuse.(Carver,et.Al1989)

Focusingonandventingofemotions:thetendencytofocusonwhateverdistressor
upsetoneisexperiencingandtoventilatethosefeelings

Behavioraldisengagement:reducingone'sefforttodealwiththestressor,evengiving
uptheattempttoattaingoalswithwhichthestressorisinterfering.

Mentaldisengagement occursviaawidevarietyofactivitiesthatservetodistractthe
personfromthinkingaboutthebehavioraldimensionorgoalwithwhichthestressoris
interfering.
Substanceuseincludesusingalcoholordrugstoreducedistress
Kozier Barbara; Erb Glenora Fundamentals of Nursing, 8th Edition, Prentice
Hall Copyright 2008 [ISBN:978-981-06-9856-0]
Richard J. Contrada, PhD and Andrew Baum, PhD. The Handbook of Stress
Science: Biology, Psychology, and Health. Springer Publishing Company, LLC
Copyright 2011, [ISBN:978-0-8261-1471-6]