Skip to main content

Avoidance Coping Strategies


Denial; Emotion-focused coping; Rejection strategies; To move away from threat


Avoidance coping is one of the major types of coping that allows an individual to deal with the extrinsic and intrinsic sources of stress ranging from life’s daily hassles to major events. Avoidance coping is particularly distinguished from problem-focused mechanism as this is aimed at quelling the immediate experiences of distress through the utilization of both cognitive and behavioral techniques (Folkman and Moskowitz 2004). Such efforts are “oriented toward denying, minimizing, or otherwise avoiding dealing directly with stressful demands” (Holahan et al. 2005, p. 2). These efforts, therefore, are not meant to address the cause of the problem head on but, instead, are intended to allow the distraught person to live on in the midst of a difficult situation.


A holistic appreciation of avoidance coping requires a brief overview of the broader notion of coping. According to...

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  • Cronkite, R. C., & Moos, R. H. (1995). Life context, coping processes, and depression. In E. E. Beckham & W. R. Leber (Eds.), Handbook of depression (pp. 569–587). New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Folkman, S., & Lazarus, R. S. (1980). An analysis of coping in a middle-aged community sample. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 21, 219–239.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Folkman, S., & Moskowitz, J. T. (2004). Positive affect and the other side of coping. American Psychologist, 55, 647–654.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Holahan, C. J., Moos, R. H., & Bonin, L. (1999). Social context and depression: An integrative stress and coping framework. In T. Joiner & J. Coyne (Eds.), The interactional nature of depression: Advances in interpersonal approaches (pp. 39–63). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Holahan, C. J., Moos, R. H., Holahan, C. K., Brennan, P. L., & Schutte, K. K. (2005). Stress generation, avoidance coping, and depressive symptoms: A 10-year model. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73, 658–666.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Krohne, H. W. (2001). Stress and coping theories. In N. J. Smelser & P. B. Baltes (Eds.), The international encyclopedia of the social and behavioral sciences (pp. 15163–15170). Oxford: Elsevier.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Penley, J. A., Tomaka, J., & Wiebe, J. S. (2002). The association of coping to physical and psychological health outcomes: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 6, 551–603.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Roth, S., & Cohen, L. (1986). Approach, avoidance, and coping with stress. American Psychologist, 41, 813–819.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rozel S. Balmores-Paulino .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Section Editor information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2018 Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature

About this entry

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this entry

Balmores-Paulino, R.S. (2018). Avoidance Coping Strategies. In: Zeigler-Hill, V., Shackelford, T. (eds) Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-28099-8

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-28099-8

  • eBook Packages: Springer Reference Behavioral Science and PsychologyReference Module Humanities and Social Sciences