Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 105-112

First online:

Teaching interpersonal coping skills to adult psychiatric patients

  • James R. ColeAffiliated withScarborough Centenary Hospital
  • , Samuel H. KlarreichAffiliated withScarborough Centenary Hospital
  • , Maurice J. FryattAffiliated withScarborough Centenary Hospital

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The purpose of the present investigation was to examine the coping skills training approach to psychotherapy. A recently developed program by Christensen (1977) was compared with another coping skills approach, Stress Management Training. Subjects were 120 female outpatients ranging in age from 18 to 58. The study employed a 3 × 4 factorial design with therapist also being a variable. The dependent measures consisted of the MMPI, the Social Discomfort Index, the Response Tendency Measure, and the Community Adjustment Profile. The overall results of the study supported the hypothesis that patients receiving coping skills training would obtain more improvement on measures of the dependent variable than would patients who did not receive coping skills training. Examination of the two coping skills approaches revealed a distinct advantage in favor of the Interpersonal Coping Skills Program with no significant therapist × treatment interactions occurring. Generally, the Interpersonal Coping Skills Program was found to be a comprehensive and innovative approach to psychotherapy and one that could be readily learned by the practicing clinician.