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The psychological definition of coping is the process of managing taxing circumstances, expending effort to solve personal and interpersonal problems, and seeking to master, minimize, reduce or tolerate stress or conflict.[1][2][3]

Coping strategies

In coping with stress, people tend to use one of the three main coping strategies: either appraisal-focused, problem-focused, or emotion-focused coping.[1]

Appraisal-focused strategies occur when the person modifies the way they think, for example: employing denial, or distancing oneself from the problem. People may alter the way they think about a problem by altering their goals and values, such as by seeing the humor in a situation.[citation needed]

People using problem-focused strategies try to deal with the cause of their problem. They do this by finding out information on the problem and learning new skills to manage the problem.

Emotion-focused strategies involve releasing pent-up emotions, distracting oneself, managing hostile feelings, meditating, using systematic relaxation procedures, etc.Template:Which?.

Typically, people use a mixture of all three types of coping, and coping skills will usually change over time. All these methods can prove useful, but some claim that those using problem-focused coping strategies will adjust better to life.[4]

Men often prefer problem-focused coping, whereas women can often tend towards an emotion-focused response. Problem-focused coping mechanisms may allow an individual greater perceived control over their problem, while emotion-focused coping may more often lead to a reduction in perceived control. Certain individuals therefore feel that problem-focused mechanisms represent a more effective means of coping.[5]


American psychologists R. S. Lazarus and Folkman have been influential in developing theories of coping, and their definition is still being used in research.[citation needed]

See also


  • Stress
  • Psychological resilience
  • Grief
  • Psychological trauma
  • Dyscopia, an informal medical term that is sometimes applied to people that are unable to cope
  • Defence mechanism


  1. 1.0 1.1 Weiten, W., & Lloyd, M. A. (2006) Psychology Applied to Modern Life. Thomson Wadsworth; Belmont California. ISBN 0-534-60859-0.
  2. Snyder, C. R. (editor) (1999) Coping: The Psychology of What Works. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195119347.
  3. Zeidner, M. & Endler, N. S. (editors) (1996) Handbook of Coping: Theory, Research, Applications. New York: John Wiley. ISBN 0471599468.
  4. Taylor, S. E. (2006). Health Psychology, international edition. McGraw-Hill Education, pg. 193
  5. (Nicholls, & Polman, 2006) Template:Volume needed

Further reading

External links

bn:কোপিং (মনোবিজ্ঞান) de:Bewältigungsstrategie ru:Копинг fi:Elämänhallinta pt:Coping