Appraisal, coping, health status, and psychological symptoms

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1986 Mar;50(3):571-9. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.50.3.571.


In this study we examined the relation between personality factors (mastery and interpersonal trust), primary appraisal (the stakes a person has in a stressful encounter), secondary appraisal (options for coping), eight forms of problem- and emotion-focused coping, and somatic health status and psychological symptoms in a sample of 150 community-residing adults. Appraisal and coping processes should be characterized by a moderate degree of stability across stressful encounters for them to have an effect on somatic health status and psychological symptoms. These processes were assessed in five different stressful situations that subjects experienced in their day-to-day lives. Certain processes (e.g., secondary appraisal) were highly variable, whereas others (e.g., emotion-focused forms of coping) were moderately stable. We entered mastery and interpersonal trust, and primary appraisal and coping variables (aggregated over five occasions), into regression analyses of somatic health status and psychological symptoms. The variables did not explain a significant amount of the variance in somatic health status, but they did explain a significant amount of the variance in psychological symptoms. The pattern of relations indicated that certain variables were positively associated and others negatively associated with symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adjustment Disorders / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Tests
  • Psychometrics
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology*