The pragmatic derivation and validation of measures of adaptive and maladaptive coping styles

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There remain challenges involving the theoretical and empirical variability of the operationalization of coping styles. The current analyses sought to identify a parsimonious number of coping styles, from the commonly used Ways of Coping Questionnaire presented in dispositional format, and present internal consistency, construct validity and effectiveness information for the obtained scales. Data were collected from 317 adult community participants. Measures assessed coping, personality, stress, and demographic characteristics such as age and gender. Factor analyses identified that only two unique constructs, and therefore subscales, could be supported by the available data. However, three reliable parallel versions for each coping style, comprising 20, 10 and 5 items, respectively, were able to be derived. Face validity led to these uncorrelated scales being termed adaptive and maladaptive coping. Personality, stress and demographic details provided initial construct validity for these scales. This research proposes empirically sound measures for adaptive and maladaptive coping styles in dispositional format derived from a popular existing instrument. The independence of the scales demonstrates the fundamental distinction between styles, while the availability of scales of differing length with equal reliability offers particular value. These new options will provide clarity and consistency in the quantification of two commonly cited coping styles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalCogent Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • adaptive coping
  • dispositional measurement
  • maladaptive coping
  • ways of coping questionnaire


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