Authored by: Carolyn M. Aldwin , Hyunyup Lee , Soyoung Choun , Sungrok Kang

Handbook of Health Psychology

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138052819
eBook ISBN: 9781315167534
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter reviews classical and current approaches to coping research, examining both developmental and cultural aspects of coping, as well as its relationship to health outcomes. Current approaches focus on more nuanced forms of coping that recognize contextual specificity, along with new research into meaning-related, religious, and dyadic coping strategies. Coping develops across the lifespan, with older adults often exhibiting better self-regulation and interpersonal skills, as well as more efficient coping, than younger adults. How culture affects the type and use of coping strategies is still poorly understood, and there is some evidence that culture may modify the effectiveness of coping. The relationships between coping and both mental and health outcomes are highly complex, with evidence for direct, mediating, and stress-moderating relationships. Results may be context-dependent, and within-person designs yield different findings from between-person designs. More research is needed examining how coping maintains positive outcomes in the face of stress. Coping interventions are often effective in mitigating the adverse effect of chronic illnesses, especially those focusing on dyadic and family interventions. In part, the variability in studies of coping effectiveness reflects a lack of a comprehensive theory as to what strategies are effective, under what circumstances, and for whom.

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