Coping Strategies- Problem-focused Versus Emotion-focused
Coping strategies refer to the specific efforts, both behavioral and psychological, that people employ to master, tolerate, reduce or minimize stressful events. There are two general coping strategies which have been distinguished. Problem-focused strategies are efforts to do something active to alleviate stressful circumstances, where as emotion-focused coping strategies involve efforts to regulate the emotional consequences of stressful or potentially stressful events. Typically, people use both problem-focused and emotion-focused coping in their stressful episodes, which suggests that both types of coping are useful for most stressful events (Folkman & Lazarus, 1980).
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Another study assessing breast cancer patient's coping styles was evaluated by researchers Dana Osowiecki, JoAnne Epping-Jordan, et al (Osowiecki et al. 1999) In this study, 80 female breast cancer patients were interviewed and given several written questionnaires assessing psychological variables. The measures included a structured interview, medical variables such as stage of breast cancer were found using their medical charts, optimism was measured by the Life Orientation Test (LOT), monitoring using the Miller Behavioral Style Scale (MBSS), stress response symptoms using the Impact of Event Scale (IES), coping was assessed by the Coping Strategies Inventory (CSI), and emotional distress was measured by the symptom checklist-90-revised scale. The purpose of the study was to examine the process of psychological adjustment to breast cancer at baseline, 3 month, and 6 month follow ups with women with Stage I- Stage IV breast cancer. The results of the study which are significant in regards to the topic area at hand are as follows. Optimism was found to play a major role in predicting coping and emotional distress. Optimistic women experienced much lower levels of distress than pessimistic women and furthermore women who were more pessimistic used more emotion-focused coping and this type of coping was related to more emotional distress at diagnosis, and increases in distress from 3-6 months. On