Coping strategies and associated features of medically ill patients.
This study examined the psychological and behavioral correlates of three major coping strategies used by medically ill patients in dealing with their illness; namely, confrontation, avoidance, and acceptance-resignation. The subjects consisted of 223 male medical patients with a variety of life-threatening and chronic illnesses. Coping responses were measured by the Medical Coping Modes Questionnaire, while other variables were tapped by a variety of self-report and test measures, as well as by interview data. Significant correlates were found for each of the coping strategies accounting for 10 to 53% of the variance. These included demographic, illness, and psychological variables. Employment of acceptance-resignation as a coping strategy was particularly evident in patients with little expectation of recovery and a lack of hope. Effectiveness of coping appeared to be negatively linked to frequent use of avoidance and acceptance-resignation in life-threatened patients. Overall, it seems that a variety of variables across several domains accompany the use of a particular coping strategy; that choice of a specific strategy is most likely multidetermined; and that the configuration of variables associated with a particular strategy is likely to be different for each coping strategy. Coping behavior is a subtle, multifashioned expression the complete grasp of which demands an integrative approach.