Topic 3. Coping process

The coping process is a transaction among the individual and the environment. According to Lazarus (1984) transactional model of stress, there are  four main components in coping։

1.Primary appraisal (perception of a threat to well – being)

2.Secondary appraisal (Identify possible coping strategies)

3.Implementation of coping response

4.Evaluation of whether the response was effective in enabling the person to deal with stressor(s)

Primary and secondary appraisals

Primary appraisal։  Folkman et al (1984) refers to primary appraisal as the first stage of the appraisal process, where encounters are subjectively evaluated to see what is at stake in terms of potential risk (Perrewe & Zellars, 1999) and these assessments allow for the influence of individual differences, because the nature of what is considered stressful is individual-specific (Park & Folkman, 1997).

Perewee and Zellars (1999)  Use of Both Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches to Study Job Stress in Different Gender and Occupational Groups

Park and Folkman (1997) write that the meaning that individuals give to events, can be framed by existing beliefs based on their global meaning. These are enduring beliefs and valued goals, based on fundamental assumptions, theories of reality (e.g. religion), self-worth, life experience etc. Park and Folkman (1997) propose that the making of situational meaning is what occurs when an individual’s global beliefs and goals interact with the specifics of a particular person-environment transaction which are defined by the processes of appraisal and coping.

Secondary appraisal։ When a situation evaluated as potentially stressful, secondary appraisal occurs, where the individual evaluates if the potential harm can be avoided or prevented (Park & Folkman, 1997), where to assign blame or credit, and what future expectations are. Potential actions or ways of coping are assessed, informed by past coping experience, personality, personal resources (and presumably global meaning). Folkman and Lazarus (1980) described many types of coping behaviors, and suggested that they could be aggregated into two major categories of coping response: problem-focused coping (attempts to cope using more rational problem solving type approaches) or emotion-focused coping (emotional-oriented coping approaches) each of which are suitable in different kinds of situation. While the problem focused/emotion focused distinction has been popular in research, many argue that it is important to split coping into more distinct categories (many based on Folkman and Lazarus’ work) such as problem focused coping, seeking social support, blamed self, wishful thinking, and avoidance (Vitaliano, Russo, Carr, Maiuro, and Becker, 1985) and action oriented coping, accommodation, positive thinking, seeking support, self blame and defense (Falkum, Olff, and Aasland, 1997).

Dewe,P.,Cox. T. and Ferguson, E (1993). Individual strategies for coping with stress  

Coping Process

 Ways of Coping Questionnaire which categorizes specific coping behaviors such as։