What is coping? A critical review of the construct and its application in audiology

Int J Audiol. 2003 Jul;42 Suppl 1:S97-103. doi: 10.3109/14992020309074630.


The term 'coping' is increasingly used in audiology, in particular by researchers and clinicians interested in the psychosocial aspects of hearing disorders. Coping has been defined as the process of managing demands (external or internal) that are appraised as taxing or exceeding the resources of the person. It is seen as a process involving at least two stages: primary appraisal (is this something to bother about?), and secondary appraisal (what can I do about it?). It is proposed to serve two distinct purposes: to do away with the problem (i.e. problem-focused coping), and to regulate emotional reactions (emotion-focused coping). The following observations are made: (1) there is a lack of correspondence between what people in general mean by coping and how the concept is used in research; (2) coping is most often measured by checklists with questionable validity; (3) the outcome of using different coping strategies is largely unexplored; and (4) what is regarded as coping in some circumstances (e.g. telling about your hearing impairment) can become a problem in another situation, or even the same situation (e.g. stigma). Finally, some recommendations regarding the future use of the coping construct in audiology are made.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Audiology*
  • Emotions
  • Hearing Disorders / psychology*
  • Hearing Disorders / therapy
  • Humans
  • Models, Psychological
  • Problem Solving
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires