Coping: pitfalls and promise

Annu Rev Psychol. 2004;55:745-74. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.55.090902.141456.

Abstract

Coping, defined as the thoughts and behaviors used to manage the internal and external demands of situations that are appraised as stressful, has been a focus of research in the social sciences for more than three decades. The dramatic proliferation of coping research has spawned healthy debate and criticism and offered insight into the question of why some individuals fare better than others do when encountering stress in their lives. We briefly review the history of contemporary coping research with adults. We discuss three primary challenges for coping researchers (measurement, nomenclature, and effectiveness), and highlight recent developments in coping theory and research that hold promise for the field, including previously unaddressed aspects of coping, new measurement approaches, and focus on positive affective outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Affect
  • Humans
  • Religion and Psychology
  • Social Control, Informal
  • Terminology as Topic