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PSYC*3690 Article 19.pdf

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PSYC 3690
Benjamin Gottlieb

Article #: 19 Title: The Coping Process: An Alternative to Traditional Formulations Definition of Coping - constantly changing cognitive and behavioural efforts to manage specific external and/ or internal demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding the resources of the person - this definition addresses limitations of traditional approaches as follows: 1. it is process-oriented rather than trait-oriented, as reflected in the words constantly changing and specific demands and conflicts 2. this definition applies a distinction between coping and automatized adaptive behaviour by limiting coping to demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding a personʼs resources - this limits coping to conditions of psychological stress, which requires mobilization and excludes automatized behaviours and thoughts that do not require effort 3. the problem of confounding coping with outcome is addressed by defining coping as efforts to manage, which permits coping to include anything that the person does to thinks, regardless of how well or badly it works 4. by using the word manage, we also avoid equating coping with mastery - managing can include minimizing, avoiding, tolerating, and accepting the stressful conditions as well as attempts to master the environment Coping as a Process - a process approach to coping has 3 main features: 1. observations and assessment are concerned with what the person actually thinks or does, in contrast to what the person usually does, would do or should do, which is the concern of the trait approach 2. what the person actually thinks or does is examined within a specific context 3. to speak of a coping process means speaking of change in coping thoughts and acts as a stressful encounter unfolds Stages in the Coping Process - we must be concerned, however, about whether such stages are assumed to be invariant in sequence - one reason for being wary of formulations that propose invariant sequences of stages is that clinically one sees that the sequence can be variable - a stage model creates expectations in both the person and those involved with the person with respect to appropriate feelings and actions The Multiple Functions of Coping - a coping function refers to the purpose a strategy serves; outcome refers to the effect a strategy has * 2 goals of coping are: (1) regulate oneʼs emotions, and (2) deal with the stressor - common to coping functions is a distinction that we believe is of overriding importance, namely, between coping that is directed at managing or altering the problem causing the distress and coping that is directed at regulating emotional response to the problem - we refer to the former as problem-focused coping and the latter as emotion-focused coping - emotion-focused forms of coping are more likely to occur when there has been an appraisal that nothing can be done to modify harmful, threatening, or challenging environmental conditions - problem-focused forms of coping, on the other hand, are more probable when such conditions are appraised as amenable to
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