Coping Scales

Original Editor - Lucinda hampton

Top Contributors - Lucinda hampton  

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Coping refers to thoughts and behaviors used to manage stressful situations. The term is used for conscious and voluntary acts, as opposed to defense mechanisms (subconscious or unconscious adaptive responses).

Coping scales are used to measure the type of coping mechanism a person uses. Commonly used scales are COPE (Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced), Ways of Coping Questionnaire, Coping Strategies Questionnaire, Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations, Religious-COPE, and Coping Response Inventory.[1]

Brief-COPE[edit | edit source]

The Brief-COPE is a 28 item self-report questionnaire designed to measure effective and ineffective ways to cope with a stressful life event. See here [2]

This scale is used health-care settings to determine how patients are emotionally responding to a grave circumstance. For example it can be used to see how an individual is coping with a cancer diagnosis, heart failure, injuries, assaults, natural disasters, or mental illness. It helps the healthcare provider see the helpful and unhelpful ways someone responds to stressors.[2]

The Ways of Coping Questionnaire (WAYS)[edit | edit source]

The Ways of Coping Questionnaire (WAYS) assesses the thoughts and actions individuals use to cope with stressful situations in everyday living. The origin of the WAYS is from a cognitive phenomenological theory of stress and coping that is articulated in Stress, Appraisal, and Coping (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) and elsewhere (e.g., Lazarus, 1981; Lazarus & Launier, 1978).

Eight coping factors are measured by the WAYS

  • Confrontive Coping,
  • Distancing,
  • Self-Controlling,
  • Seeking Social Support,
  • Accepting Responsibility,
  • Escape-Avoidance,
  • Planful Problem Solving,
  • Positive Reappraisal.[3]

The Coping Strategies Questionnaire – Revised[edit | edit source]

The Coping Strategies Questionnaire – Revised is a tool that assesses cognitive factors contributing to adaptive functioning when chronic pain is a present. The English-language version of the questionnaire is well validated. The Questionnaire is a 50-item measure assessing to what degree the patients engage in a variety of cognitive and behavioral coping strategies when they experience pain, including diverting attention, reinterpreting pain sensations, coping self-statements, ignoring the pain, praying or hoping, increasing activity, and perceiving a measure of control over the pain.[4]

Physiotherapy Relevance[edit | edit source]

Physical therapists, along side other health care providers, share the role of educating patients to become more responsible for their health. Teaching patients and their caregivers the correct coping skills can have a large impact on the way they perceive their condition, the severity of the symptoms, and the psychological distress associated with it. Monitoring patients' coping strategies using coping scales is helpful in evaluating the patient's psychological status and improvement.[1]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Algorani EB, Gupta V. Coping mechanisms. InStatPearls [Internet] 2023 Apr 24. StatPearls Publishing. Available: (accessed 3.3.2024)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Buchanan B. Coping orientation to problems experienced inventory (Brief-Cope). NovoPsych. Retrieved December. 2021;9:2022. Available: (accessed 3.3.2024)
  3. Folkman S, Lazarus RS. Ways of coping questionnaire.Available: (accessed 3.3.2024)
  4. Benzon H, Raja SN, Fishman SE, Liu SS, Cohen SP. Essentials of pain medicine E-book. Elsevier Health Sciences; 2011 Jun Available: (accessed 3.3.2024)