Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 147–158 | Cite as

A comparison of the coping and restructuring components of cognitive restructuring

  • Diane B. Arnkoff


Cognitive restructuring can be thought of as having two goals: a coping goal, in which individuals learn to cope more effectively with a stressful situation using such means as coping self-statements, and a restructuring goal, in which individuals change their beliefs about events, so that formerly stressful situations will no longer be stressful. These two goals were contrasted in a treatment outcome study employing test-anxious subjects who were assigned (a) to a coping treatment, which taught coping self-statements to be used in a test situation, (b) to a restructuring treatment, which involved discussion of general beliefs about evaluation, or (c) to a waiting list control. Outcome measures of test anxiety, irrational beliefs, and thoughts 1 hour before a final exam each showed treatment effects. Though the treated groups did not differ from each other on these measures, the coping group showed more improvement relative to the control group. The results for the two cognitive measures, chosen to reflect the different goals of the two treatments, did not directly correspond to treatment content, suggesting that the change processes resulting from a treatment cannot be predicted from the content of the treatment procedures alone.

Key words

cognitive restructuring self-statements irrational beliefs test anxiety 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diane B. Arnkoff
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCatholic University of AmericaWashington, D.C.USA

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