Coping Style and Quality of Life in Dutch Intensive Care Unit Survivors

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Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore coping styles among intensive care unit (ICU) survivors and investigate the association between coping style and quality of life (QOL). Method: In this cross-sectional multicenter study, 150 adult patients who were mechanically ventilated in an ICU for ≥2 days and discharged to their homes were invited to visit the post-ICU clinic 3 months after discharge. Before the post-ICU visit, the patients completed questionnaires regarding their QOL, coping style, and psychological distress. Coping style was assessed using the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS-21; de Ridder & van Heck, 2004), which measures task-oriented coping, emotion-oriented coping, and avoidance coping styles. QOL was assessed using the Physical Component Score (PCS) and Mental Component Score (MCS) derived from the 36-item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36; Aaronson et al., 1998). Univariate and multivariate linear regressions were performed. Results: One hundred four patients (mean age = 59 years; 71 men, 33 women) completed the questionnaires (response rate = 69%). The highest CISS-21 subscale mean was found in the Task-Oriented subscale (21.3), followed by the Avoidance Coping subscale (18.7) and the Emotion-Oriented subscale (15.2). Emotion-oriented coping style was independently associated with reduced mental health (i.e., SF-36 MCS), but not with physical functioning (i.e., SF-36 PCS). Conclusions: An emotion-oriented coping style is associated with worse mental health among Dutch ICU survivors. Additional research is needed in order to determine the precise role that coping style plays in the long-term recovery of ICU survivors.

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