Stress and coping : a theoretical analysis and model
Type of content
Traditionally stress and coping researchers have sought to identify factors that enable some people to cope better with stress than others. This has led to an investigation of environmental features, emotion-focused and problem focused coping responses, personality variables, and psychopathology. In the first half of this thesis the main theoretical and empirical approaches to the study of stress and coping are examined. The seminal work of Richard Lazarus is discussed in some detail. His Situationalist approach emphasised stress as a dynamic process that is mediated by appraisal. Introduced in the late 1960's, it challenged the hegemony of the trait approaches that had held sway until then
In the second half of the thesis Heinz Walter Krohne's Modes of Coping model is used to examine a modern Dispositiona/ist or personality based account of coping. This is used as a springboard to investigate some of the constructs believed to underlie coping. The work of Richard Sorrentino and colleagues on uncertainty orientation is explored and eventually subsumed under the broader rubric of emotional regulation.
The thesis culminates in a developmental model of coping. This suggests that human relationships provide the mechanism by which people learn to regulate potentially overwhelming negative emotions and that this in turn influences the ability to cope. In conclusion, implications for further research and particular ramifications for clinical psychology are discussed.