Ways of Coping refers to a measurement for coping strategies (Folkman & Lazarus, 1980). The Ways of Coping was developed by Folkman, Lazarus, and their associates (Folkman, Lazarus, Dunkel-Schetter, DeLongis, & Gruen, 1986). 

It is an empirically-derived inventory of specific ways in which people might cope with a stressful event. Individuals are asked to designate or respond to a specific stressor (such as neighborhood crime) and indicate the degree to which they have utilized each particular coping method to deal with it. Responses to the statements are then factor-analyzed to identify more general patterns of coping.

In a representative community study that employed this measure, eight distinct coping strategies emerged:

  • Confrontative Coping,
  • Seeking Social Support,
  • Planful Problem-Solving,
  • Self-Control,
  • Distancing,
  • Positive Appraisal,
  • Accepting Responsibility, and
  • Escape/Avoidance.

Researchers often add items that address the particular coping needs of the stressful events they are studying. The result, however, is that the Ways of Coping instrument is employed idiosyncratically across different studies, limiting the comparability of results from the instrument across different samples and situations. Moreover, because the specific coping strategies are determined by factor analysis, the factor structure, as well, varies across studies.

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