Discuss Research into Problem & Emotion Focused Coping

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  • Created by: PIE674
  • Created on: 22-09-13 20:18

Folkman & Lazarus described coping methods of stress as “Cognitions and behaviours a person uses to reduce stress and moderate it’s emotional impact” this means both our thoughts about the situation and actions to deal with them effect our stress levels. Carver et al found people use different methods to deal with stress such as denial, humour and seeking support, this study caused Folkman & Lazarus (1980) to find the main methods people use through a Ways of Coping questionnaire. They found Emotion-focused coping and problem-focused coping were the two main ways people dealt with stress. Problem-focused coping involves alleviating the stressful situation through direct behavioural actions such as setting targets to take control of the situation whilst emotion-focused coping dealt with only the emotional distress caused by the stressor through distractions and venting e.g. talking to a friend about the problem and emotions.

Problem focused is believed to be most effective as it provides a chance of changing the stressful aspect through realistic actions and emotion-focused reduces the arousal levels so they lack energy to actively change the situation however emotion-focused in some forms are positive e.g. reinterpreting an event (death of a loved one) in a positive light (they’re in a better place).

Penley et al (2002) found a positive correlation between problem-focused coping and overall health outcomes suggesting that this strategy is better as it benefits health however this study is correlational data therefore cannot claim cause and effect and only say that there is a likely…


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