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What is coping

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What is coping
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268 HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY
been studied with a focus on type A behaviour and personality and the role of
hostility (see Chapter 15 for details in the context of CHD).
I Actual or perceived control: control over the stressor may decrease the effects of stress
on the individual’s health status.
Coping with stress, social support, personality and control will now be examined in
greater detail (see Figure 11.4).
Fig. 11-4 The stress–illness link: psychological moderators
COPING
Over the past few years the literature on coping has grown enormously and has explored
different types of coping styles, the links between coping and a range of health outcomes
and the nature of coping itself. How individuals cope with illness was described in
Chapter 3 with a focus on coping with a diagnosis, crisis theory and cognitive adaptation
theory. This chapter will describe how coping relates to stress and the stress illness link.
What is coping?
Coping has been defined by Lazarus and colleagues as the process of managing stressors
that have been appraised as taxing or exceeding a person’s resources and as the ‘efforts to
manage . . . environmental and internal demands’ (Lazarus and Launier 1978). In the
context of stress, coping therefore reflects the ways in which individuals interact with
stressors in an attempt to return to some sort of normal functioning. This might involve
correcting or removing the problem. Or it might involve changing the way a person
thinks about the problem or learning to tolerate and accept it. For example, coping with
relationship conflict could involve leaving the relationship or developing strategies to
make the relationship better. In contrast it could involve lowering one’s expectations
of what a relationship should be like. Lazarus and Folkman (1984) emphasized the
dynamic nature of coping which involves appraisal and reappraisal, evaluation and
re-evaluation. Lazarus’s model of stress emphasized the interaction between the person
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