Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 343-361

First online:

The hierarchical factor structure of the coping strategies inventory

  • David L. TobinAffiliated withEating Disorders Program, The University of Chicago Physicians Group
  • , Kenneth A. HolroydAffiliated withOhio University
  • , Russ V. ReynoldsAffiliated withOhio University
  • , Joan K. WigalAffiliated withOhio University

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The structure of coping was examined in three studies by means of Wherry's approach to hierarchical factor analysis. A hierarchical model with three levels was identified that included eight primary factors, four secondary factors, and two tertiary factors. The eight primary factors (problem solving, cognitive restructuring, emotional expression, social support, problem avoidance, wishful thinking, self-criticism, and social withdrawal) identified dimensions of coping found in previous empirical research and theoretical writing. The emergence of the four secondary and two tertiary factors provided empirical support for two theoretical hypotheses concerning the structure of coping. Support for the constructs of problem- and emotion-focused coping hypothesized by Lazarus was obtained at the secondary level, and support for the constructs of approach and avoidance coping hypothesized by many theorists was obtained at the tertiary level. These findings suggest that both formulations may describe the structure of coping, albeit at different levels of analysis.

Key words

coping stress adaptation assessment