Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Problem Solving

  • Seth A. Margolis
  • Patricia Osborne
  • Jeffrey S. Gonzalez
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_208

Synonyms

Definition

Problem-solving therapy (PST) is a brief, empirically supported, cognitive-behavioral intervention aimed at training clients to identify, evaluate, and resolve everyday problems through the methodical application of problem-solving skills. In addition to teaching specific coping skills, PST emphasizes the importance of maintaining a positive problem-solving orientation and a rational problem-solving style (D’Zurilla & Nezu, 2010).

An individual’s problem-solving orientation encompasses how one perceives problems, to what/whom they attribute these problems, how they appraise problematic situations, and the degree to which they view their problems as under their control. A major goal of PST is to help clients view problems as solvable challenges instead of insurmountable impasses.

A person’s problem-s...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access

References and Readings

  1. Allen, S. M., Shah, A. C., Nezu, A. M., Ciambrone, D., Hogan, J., & Mor, V. (2002). A problem-solving approach to stress reduction among younger women with breast carcinoma: A randomized controlled trial. Cancer, 94(12), 3089–3100.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arean, P. A., Perri, M. G., Nezu, A. M., Schein, R. L., Christopher, F., & Joseph, T. X. (1993). Comparative effectiveness of social problem-solving therapy and reminiscence therapy as treatments for depression in older adults. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 61(6), 1003–1010.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Areán, P. A., Raue, P., Mackin, R. S., Kanellopoulos, D., McCulloch, C., & Alexopoulos, G. S. (2010). Problem-solving therapy and supportive therapy in older adults with major depression and executive dysfunction. American Journal of Psychiatry, 167, 1391–1398.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Catalan, J., Gath, D. H., Anastasiades, P., Bond, S. A., Day, A., & Hall, L. (1991). Evaluation of a brief psychological treatment for emotional disorders in primary care. Psychological Medicine, 21(4), 1012–1018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chang, E. C., D’Zurilla, T. J., & Sanna, L. J. (Eds.). (2004). Social problem solving: Theory, research, and training. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  6. D’Zurilla, T. J., & Nezu, A. M. (2010). Problem-solving therapy. In K. S. Dobson (Ed.), Handbook of cognitive-behavioral therapies (3rd ed., pp. 197–225). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  7. Grant, J. S., Elliott, T. R., Weaver, M., Bartolucci, A. A., & Ginger, J. N. (2002). Telephone intervention with family caregivers of stroke survivors after rehabilitation. Stroke, 33(8), 2060–2065.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hegel, M. T., Barrett, J. E., & Oxman, T. E. (2000). Training therapists in problem-solving treatment of depressive disorders in primary care: Lessons learned from the “treatment effectiveness project”. Families, Systems, & Health, 18, 423–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Houts, P. S., Nezu, A. M., Nezu, C. M., & Bucher, J. A. (1996). The prepared family caregiver: A problem-solving approach to family caregiver education. Patient Education and Counseling, 27, 63–73.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Mynors-Wallis, L., & Gath, D. (1997). Predictors of treatment outcome for major depression in primary care. Psychological Medicine, 27(3), 731–736.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Nezu, A. M., Nezu, C. M., & D’Zurilla, T. J. (2010). Problem-solving therapy. In N. Kazantzis, M. S. Reinecke, & A. Freeman (Eds.), Cognitive and behavioral theories in practice (pp. 76–114). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  12. Nezu, A. M., Nezu, C. M., Felgoise, S. H., McClure, K. S., & Hots, P. S. (2003). Project genesis: Assessing the efficacy of problem-solving therapy for distressed adult cancer patients. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71(6), 1036–1048.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Oxman, T. E., Hegel, M. T., Hull, J. G., & Dietrich, A. J. (2008). Problem-solving treatment and coping styles in primary care for minor depression. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76(6), 933–943.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Perri, M. G., Nezu, A. M., McKelvey, W. F., Shermer, R. L., Renjilian, D. A., & Viegener, B. J. (2001). Individual versus group therapy for obesity: Effects of matching participants to their treatment preferences. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 69(4), 722–726.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Sahler, O. J., Fairclough, D. L., Phipps, S., Mulhern, R. K., Dolgin, M. J., Noll, R. B., et al. (2005). Using problem-solving skills training to reduce negative affectivity in mothers of children with newly diagnosed cancer: Report of a multisite randomized trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73(2), 272–283.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Wade, S. L., Walz, N. C., Carey, J. C., & William, K. M. (2008). Preliminary efficacy of a web-based family problem-solving treatment program for adolescents with traumatic brain injury. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 23(6), 369–377.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Wade, S. L., Wolfe, C., Brown, T. M., & Pestian, J. P. (2005). Putting the pieces together: Preliminary efficacy of a web-based family intervention for children with traumatic brain injury. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 30(5), 437–442.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seth A. Margolis
    • 1
  • Patricia Osborne
    • 1
  • Jeffrey S. Gonzalez
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Clinical Psychology, Health EmphasisFerkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva UniversityBronxUSA
  2. 2.Diabetes Research CenterAlbert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva UniversityBronxUSA