Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Coping

  • Charles CarverEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_1635-2

Definition

Coping is efforts to prevent or diminish threat, harm, and loss or to reduce the distress that is often associated with those experiences.

Description

The concept of coping presumes the existence of a condition of adversity or stress. A person who must deal with adversity is engaged in coping. Thus, coping is inextricably linked to stress. It is often said that stress exists whenever people confront situations that tax or exceed their ability to manage them (Lazarus 1966; Lazarus and Folkman 1984). Whenever a person is hard-pressed to deal with an obstacle or impediment or looming threat, the experience is stressful. Adversity takes several forms. Threat refers to the impending occurrence of an event that is feared will have bad consequences. Harm refers to the perception that bad consequences have already come to pass. Loss refers to the perception that something of value has been taken away.

People respond to perceptions of threat, harm, and loss in a wide variety of ways,...

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References and Further Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Frank J. Penedo
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Medical Social Sciences, Psychology and Psychiatry & Behavioral SciencesNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA