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Coping with job stress: A conceptual evaluation framework for coping measures
JANINA C. LATACK'
Ohio Slate University, Department of Management and Human Resources, 356 Hagertv Hall. Columbus, OH43210, U.S.A.
AND STEPHEN J. HAVLOVIC
Simon Fraser University. Faculty of Business Administration, Burnaby. BC, Canada V5A IS6
Intense interest in stress had led to a proliferation of coping measures. To aid researchers in choosing or developing coping measures applicable to job stress, this paper provides a conceptual evaluation framework. The framework serves to evaluate the extent to which coping measures are comprehensive (focus and method of coping) and specific (coping behaviors versus coping effectiveness, coping style, or coping resources; and stress management applications). Both theoretical and organizational stress management perspectives are incorporated.
The unprecedented managerial concern about detrimental effects of job stress continues to grow (Matteson and Ivancevich, 1987) and is unlikely to subside (Burke and Weir, 1980; Karasek and Theorell, 1990; Murphy, 1988). This concern is fueled by the widely-publicized estimates that stress costs American industry over $150 million annually in lost work time, accidents and medical costs (Landers, 1987). The costs of stress, and the pressing need for research-based interventions were highlighted again recently by American Psychologist which devoted the majority of the October 1990 issue to workplace stress (Keita and Jones, 1990). In addition, a national conference, co-sponsored by the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) brought world-renowned experts to Washington, D.C. to consider 'Work and Weil-Being: An Agenda for the 9O's' Researchers interested in job stress have devoted considerable attention to how people cope (Kirmeyer and Dougherty, 1988; Latack, 1986; Schuler, 1985). In their review of personal and organizational strategies for handling job stress, Newman and Beehr (1979) pointed out that there had been little rigorous evaluative research on coping strategies, an observation that
The authors express appreciation to Marjorie Stassen and Len Proper for excellent research assistance. Helpful comments on an earlier draft were provided by Ray Aldag, Terry Beehr, Tom Milbum and Amon Reichers. Janina C. Latack is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Management and Human Resources at Ohio State University. Correspondence should be sent to the Faculty of Management and Human Resources, Room 356 Hagerty Hall, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210. Stephen J. Havlovic is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Business Administration at Simon Fraser University. All correspondence should be addressed to the first author. 0894-3796/92/050479-30520.00 © 1992 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Received 3 January 1990 Final Revision 21 June 1991
J. C. LATACK AND S. J. HAVLOVIC
Still holds today. Rigorous evaluation of coping depends, of course, on valid coping measures. Although there has been a proliferation of coping scales since Newman and Beehr's review article, many have not been evaluated beyond the specific sample and setting in which they were developed. In other cases, multiple factor structures have been proposed for the same measure (Aldwin and Revenson, 1987). Although coping is acknowledged as an important mechanism, researchers need frameworks for organizing the existing coping literature into a cohesive whole (Edwards, 1988). This paper presents a conceptual evaluation framework specifically focused on coping measures. The purpose is to aid researchers in selecting or adapting published coping measures as well as in developing new coping measures. First, we provide a conceptual definition of coping applicable to job stress. Next, we draw on coping theory and published coping measures to propose a framework for evaluating both comprehensiveness and specificity of coping measures. We explain how this conceptual framework can serve as a crucial supplement to traditional psychometric criteria in tests of complex job-related coping models. We conclude with suggested research strategies for advancing our knowledge of coping processes in work organizations. Our ultimate goal is to provide some order and integration that will advance coping research and spur application of new knowledge to pressing managerial problems. This goal is consistent with Cooper and Payne's conclusion t h a t ' . . . the evidence on how to decrease stress and/or improve peoples' ability to cope with it is less than adequate, and much needs to be done to increase our knowledge base in this area' (Cooper and Payne, 1988, p. 413).
Conceptual definition of coping
Empirical measures must be rooted in conceptual definitions of the constructs they are intended to measure. A review of the conceptual definitions will pave the way for evaluating coping measures and highlight definitional issues relative to job-related coping. Although not all of the empirical studies we reviewed offered an explicit conceptual definition of coping, we summarize in Table 1 conceptual definitions of coping that were stated or could be inferred from statements by the authors. Many of the definitions utilized were borrowed or modified from earlier studies and researchers frequently cite the work of Lazarus and his colleagues (e.g. Lazarus and Launier, 1978). In most cases the coping definition was used to select or develop the empirical measure(s) of coping. Examination of the various definitions reveals some convergence around the notion that coping is part of a person-environment transaction that occurs when an individual appraises a situation as stressful. Stressful situations can take the form of harm, threat or challenge (Beehr and Bhagat, 1985; Lazarus and Folkman, 1984; Schuler, 1985). The majority of definitions do not further define "stressful' but rather cast stress in terms of targets toward which coping is directed. In most cases the targets defined are the 'stressful situation (problem-focused coping) or the attendant negative emotions (emotion-focused coping)' (Aldwin and Revenson, 1987). Some definitions focus on one target, the emotional reactions, as in minimizing the 'impact of the strains' (Pearlin, Lieberman, Menaghan and Mullan, 1981). Other researchers further define the concept of 'stressful', specifying the dimensions of a situation that will call forth coping responses. For example, Coyne, Aldwin and Lazarus (1981) state that 'coping refers to efforts, both cognitive and behavioral, to manage environmental and internal demands and conflicts affecting an individual that tax or exceed a person's resources* Dewe (1987) refers to 'active or passive attempts to respond to a situation of threat with the aim of removing the threat or reducing the discomfort', Latack (1986) draws upon conceptual
COPING WITH JOB STRESS
Table 1. Synopsis of coping definitions
Author(s) Aldwin and Revenson(1987) Anderson (1976) Coping definitions 'Coping encompasses cognitive and behavioral strategies used to manage a stressful situation (problem-focused coping) and the attendant negative emotions (emotion-focused coping)' 'The Kahn, Wolfe, Quinn, Snoek, and Rosenthal (1964) categorization of coping behaviors was employed'. Class I Coping (task situation; problem-solving) and Class II Coping (emotional or anxiety reactions) ... we have chosen to focus on the cognitive and behavioral reactions individuals report in response to stressful events which have occurred recently in their lives ...' [Method of coping: cognitive (intrapsychic) and behavioral strategies. Focus of coping: problem-focused and emotion-focused coping] 'Burke (1971) and Mann (unpublished manuscript) attempted to determine specific activities managers undertook to cojie with job tension.... 'Some examples of these methods of coping were: (1) Change to an engrossing non-work or play activity, (2) analyze the situation and change strategy of attack (problem-solving), (3) withdraw temporarily from the situation, (4) work harder, and (5) talk situation through with others on the job' The Lazarus (1966) stress definition is utilized. 'Lazarus argued that stress consists of three processes. Primary appraisal is the process of perceiving a threat to oneself. Secondary appraisal is the process of bringing to mind a potential response to the threat. Coping is the process of executing that response' 'Coping refers to efforts, both cognitive and behavioral, to manage environmental and internal demands and conflcits affecting an individual that tax or exceed that person's resources' ... coping can be defined as active or passive attempts to respond to a situation of threat with the aim of removing the threat or reducing the emotional discomfort' Combined definitions from Beehr and Newman (1978); Brett and Werbel (1980); Werbel (1980); Levi (1967); and Folkman and Lazarus (1980) in order to identify behavioral coping strategies 'Coping refers to both overt and covert behaviors that are taken to reduce or eliminate psychological distress or stressful conditions.... behaviors that appear to have a primary instrumental nature will be distinguished from all other behaviors, and the latter will be considered as emotion-focused' 'Coping is defined as the cognitive and behavioral efforts made to master, tolerate, or reduce external and internal demands and conflicts among them' 'First, the person can alter external, structurally imposed expectations held by others, regarding the appropriate behavior of a person in his or her position' (structural role redefinition). The second type of coping involves changing one's personal concept of role demands received from others' (personal role redefinition). 'The third type of copying is reactive role behavior' 'The Aldwin and Revenson (1987) definition of coping is utilized in this study: "Coping encompasses cognitive and behavioral strategies used to manage a stressful situation (problemfocused coping) and the attendant negative emotions (emotion-focused coping)'' ... coping styles are responses to ongoing stressors in daily roles. The following three major patterns emerge: taking direct action against the perceived stressor, rationalizing or avoiding the stressor, and accepting the stressor without trying to change it definition of coping, attempt by a person to resolve life stressors and emotional pain ...' 'Coping is conceptualized as cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage the internal and external demands of person-environment transactions appraised as stressful (Folkman and Lazarus, 1985; Folkman cr a/., 1986)' Coping is the cognitive and behavioral efforts made to master, minimize, tolerate or reduce external and internal demands' (Folkman and Lazarus, 1980, p. 223)' 'Although coping is broadly defined as cognitive and behavioral efforts directed at lessening emotional distress and managing external demands (Lazarus and Folkman, 1984), we limited our measurement to problem-focused (as opposed to emotion-focused) strategies for altering or managing one's work load'
Billings and Moos (1981)
Burke and Belcourt (1974)
Carver ff a/. (1989)
Coyne era/. (1981) Dewe(1987) Feldman and Brett (1983) Fleishman (1984)
Folkman and Lazarus (1980) Hall (1972)
Havlovic and Keenan(1991) Ilfeld(1980)
Kinicki and Latack (1990) Kirmeyer and Diamond (1985) Kirmeyer and Dougherty (1988)
' 'A person's coping response will depend on how he or she perceives the stress encountered (Lazarus and Launier.. Averill and Opton. adopts the strategy of examining a fairly large number of distinct coping mechanisms. and (b) emotion-focused coping which regulates stressful emotions 'Coping responses. permit human beings not only to deal with a stress. coping behaviors were defined conceptually as individuals' overt attempts to alleviate or respond to stressful conditions at work' . problem-focused coping intended to alter the troubled situation was distinguished from emotion-focused coping intended to control the emotional response to the situation The concepts of problem. Lazarus. (1985) Zappert and Weinstein(1985) ... and attempting to be the best at all one does... Pearlin and Schooler. self-doubt and self-blame. or reduce internal and environmental demands' (Lazarus. rather than a few broad categories' 'Coping responses have been described as the cognitions and behaviors that people use to modify adverse aspects of their environments as well as to minimize the potential threat arising from such aspects (Lazarus.. Moos and Billings. we conceptualize coping as occurring at three levels: (a) strategies used by individual workers. Lazarus. Lazarus and Launier.' . Folkman and Lazarus..... impatience. heightened sensitivity to criticism. those behaviors and thoughts which are consciously used by an individual to handle or control the effects of anticipating or experiencing a stressful situation' Attempts to adjust to job demands. (1981) Pearlin and Schooler (1978) Seiler and Pearson (1984) Shinne/a/.. specifically two coping responses: cynicism "mocking disbelief and use of alcohol as a response to job stress ... 1978): (a) problem-focused coping which regulates stressful person-environment interactions.. 1978. coping refers to the cognitive and behavioral efforts made by individuals to prevent. 1982. the coping style index included items related to the ability to set limits and pace oneself.. LATACK AND S.. and inaction when confronting problems. avoid. reduce. minimize.. (1984) Siegler and George (1983) Stone and Neale (1984) Violantiera/. Recreational time-off from work..and emotion-focused coping are based on theoretical arguments (Folkman et al. the identification of the coping behaviors people use to minimize the impact of the strains' . Kanner and Shaefer. the coping strain index included items related to difficulties controlling temper or emotions.' Newton and Keenan(1985) O'Neill and Zeichner(1985) Osipow and Spokane(1984) Parasuraman and Cleek(1984) Parasuraman and Hansen(1987) Parkes(1984) Pearling/a/. 1980)' 'Coping with stress has been defined as the cognitive and behavioral efforts that master. and (c) strategies initiated by human service agencies' Coping orientation (instrumental or palliative) and cross classified modes of coping (information seeking... when they exist in adequate proportion. Lazarus and Launier (1978) This article . or master stressful situations and their attendant consequences' . 1979.. 1974.. but to increase their adaptive capacities as a consequence' . Two major classes of coping responses have been formulated (Billings and Moos. Pearlin and Schooler. inhibition of action and intrapsychic).. or control emotional distress' Practice of selected coping techniques (Attention to personal interests and growth... (1983) Coping definitions . (b) strategies undertaken by groups of workers to aid one another (social support). 1978) .. tolerate. 1978).482 J. direct action... Participation in physical exercise) 'We define coping as efforts to reduce stress and strain. 1981.) Author(s) Latack (1986) McCrae(1984) Mitchell et al. J. coping is defined in this study as a response to situations characterized by uncertainty and important consequences' . confidence in one's judgment. Cultivation and maintenance of friendships. Cohen. Weir. HAVLOVIC Table 1 (contd.. 1980. 1980. 1982. Folkman. 1980). (Lazarus and Launier.. In particular. seeking feedback or information when faced with a problem. the concept is being used here to refer to any response to external life strains that serves to prevent. 1978)— problem-focused and emotion-focused coping strategies . C..
coping is 'effective' if it prevents. This integrative definition merits discussion because it permits us to make three key distinctions important to research on job stress: Coping behaviors or processes are a more appropriate focus than stable coping "styles'. This focus is important for ultimate application of research findings to managerial interventions and training. That is. Coping measures: An evaluative framework Theory building is both a deductive and inductive process.g. it defines coping in terms of what people do in specific situations without reference to whether or not it 'works'. uncertainty. Our strategy is inductive in that it uses empirical evidence as a base for theory development by examining the empirical studies containing coping measures to derive theoretical directions. coping can be examined in terms of influence on a range of dependent variables including effectiveness criteria. 1980. avoids or controls individual distress. They define coping as constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage the internal and external demands of transactions that tax or exceed a person s resources. 1986) does not imply any criteria for coping 'effectiveness' Coping. this conceptual definition applies to stress that takes the form of challenge as well as harm or threat. such as performance or intention to quit. coping is separate from coping effectiveness. important consequences). Further. Baum and Singer. it has been argued that the motivational or opportunity aspect of stress must be considered in job stress situations (Schuler. not coping 'effectiveness' is therefore appropriate to our interest in organizational stress because this focus does not bias researchers regarding what constitutes effective coping. If coping is conceptualized as a personality trait relatively stable across situations. the definition can subsume more specific dimensions of what individuals find 'taxing' (e. Such a definition has been offered by Folkman. 1973. 1985). the situation). on the other hand coping is amenable to behavioral or structural intervention and training. Accordingly. If.COPING WITH JOB STRESS 483 dimensions identified by Schuler (1985) to define coping as a 'response to situations characterized by uncertainty and important consequences' A broad. The wording of the conceptual definition of coping should not be confounded with effectiveness criteria. Drawing themes from empirical . organizations are interested in other effectiveness measures as well. it is valuable to conceptualize coping in a manner that allows for developmental stress or 'eustress' that can spur organizational productivity and innovation. new tools for stress management can be identified. This broad definition allows for various specific coping targets that are internal (e. The integrative definition offered here (Folkman et al. integrative definition of coping is adopted here to allow for inclusion of coping measures based on coping targets as well as dimensions of stressful situations. 1984. 1982. Finally. and coping applies to challenge as well as harm and threat situations. From an organizational point of view. albeit a critical one.g. coping research would have little practical value for managers except perhaps in selection or placement decisions. Although avoidance or control of individual distress is one effectiveness measure.. This definition also distinguishes coping from coping effectiveness. Goldstein. Lazarus. Dunkel-Schetter. for reviews). That is. Although much of the coping literature emphasizes situations of harm or threat. 1978) contain implicit effectiveness criteria. Folkman. The focus is on coping behaviors or processes rather than a stable coping 'style' or personality trait (see Burke and Weir. emotional reactions) or external (e. avoiding or controlling emotional distress (Pearlin and Schooler. Delongis and Gruen (1986).g. Definitions that cast coping in terms of its effects such as 'preventing. and Fleming.
Although terminology used by researchers sometimes blurs this distinction (e. we selected studies dealing with organizational or everyday life experience and excluded studies of extraordinary job situations. is the coping measure reflective of a clear conceptual definition? Second. Therefore. LATACK AND S.g. measures were included in our review if they assessed actions and thoughts relative to specific stressful situations. 1989). The average coefficient alpha across the 15 studies that reported this statistic was (0. J. hospice workers (Yancik.38 (Feldman and Brett. HAVLOVIC Studies and integrating them with coping theory (Lazarus and Folkman. Violanti. Relative to content validity of coping measures. The coping research literature has grown to the point where recurring conceptual distinctions can be identified. it may not be surprising that when the same coping measure is used with different samples and different settings. 1984) and major life crises and illness (see Moos and Billings. response to open-ended questions coded into categories).92 (Carver. Since our focus is on empirical measures of coping. The coping dimensions assessed by these measures are summarized in the far right coltimn of Table 2. 1984). Scheier and Weintraub. studies that included coping measures are summarized in Table 2. Reported coefficient alphas range from a low of 0. if coping is a dynamic process. A review of derivation methodology in Appendix A reveals that 12 of the 40 studies subjected scales to factor analysis. The number of dimensions varies from one or two (Kirmeyer and Dougherty. the factor structure varies (Aldwin and Revenson. Billings and Finney. In addition. followed by studies presenting general measures of coping which apply across a variety of life roles and situations including work. changing nature of coping. 1987). 1980). A review of both Appendix A and Table 2 shows that a number of the coping scales have already been evaluated by traditional psychometric criteria. there are three major questions that the existing body of literature can help us answer.71). so the review includes measures published from the early 7O's up to present. we conducted an extensive literature search on coping (PSYCH/info and ABI/INFORM). traditional psychometric evaluation measures may not be appropriate. 1985) to 28 separate scales (McCrae. the use of one or two specific strategies may in fact decrease the need to use other strategies in that scale. Ilfeld.. Menaghan. 1988. Job stress research has emphasized contemporary management problems. Stone and Neale (1984) note that within a particular coping dimension. Similarly. changing over time.g. Suls and Fletcher. First. A sunmiary of the derivation methodology for each study is provided in Appendix A. To build an evaluative framework. in particular the Ways of Coping Checklist (Folkman and Lazarus. 1980) and the coping scale from the Health and Daily Living Form (Moos. 1982 for a review). Lazarus and Folkman. Studies providing measures specific to job stress appear first. Marshall and Howe. It has been argued by some researchers that because of the complex. For example. 1983. C. Others have provided more general reviews of the voluminous coping literature (Edwards. Researchers can establish content validity by selecting coping items within the coping dimensions of interest. e. For some studies. Zappert and Weinstein. 1983) to a high of 0. 1980. 1985. Our focus is on measures developed to assess individual coping processes (thoughts and actions) rather than stable coping styles. 1983). Cronkite. 1984) enables us to provide a theoretical framework for interpreting a large body of unrelated studies that have not been integrated. This fact would place a ceiling on internal consistency coefficients. is the coping measure comprehensive? That is does it include . 1985). 1984). Silver and Wortman. contextual influences are central in stress research (Fleming et al.g. 1988. 1984. Several measures have been used in multiple studies. such as Hall (1972) factor analysis was not applicable (e. It is not only possible but advisable to set some boundaries on the conceptual dimensions that should be included in coping measures in order to build our understanding of coping with job stress.484 J.
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Several of the measures summarized in Table 2 were based on this problem/emotion-focus distinction (e. Unless the authors specifically state how coping is being defined. For example. Beehr and Baghat. 1988. an initial evaluation criteria in our framework is whether or not the researchers have clearly and explicitly stated the conceptual definition on which the coping measure is based. Wolfe. Snoek and Rosenthal (1964) and an extensive research program by Lazarus and his colleagues (Lazarus and Folkman. 1985) and coalesced recurring conceptual distinctions noted by researchers or observed in the content of the measures. recognized coping concepts? Third.g. 1984. proactive/control versus escape/resignation. Comprehensive studies would therefore exhibit both focus and method of coping components. does it clearly reflect important distinctions that have emerged in the coping literature to separate coping from other constructs and to illustrate important conceptual details about the nature of coping? To further define the comprehensiveness and specificity criteria. Lazarus and Folkman. Once the conceptual definition is isolated. .COPING WITH JOB STR ESS 491 coverage of important. Manzi.g. 1984). Kirmeyer and Dougherty. Kahn et al. Conceptual definition As can be seen in Table 1. researchers can make an initial assessment as to whether or not the coping scale is generally consistent with the definition. Rather. 1984) has solidified the value of distinguishing between problem and emotion-focused coping. Quinn. 1985. (1964) proposed a two category typology: Class I Coping (task situation. and social versus solitary. Schuler. Anderson. we offer these conceptual dimensions as both prominent and applicable to job stress research. 1976. This is not to say that other conceptual distinctions might not also be valuable. problem-solving) and Class II Coping (dealing with emotional or anxiety reactions). In subsequent research (Lazarus and Folkman. we drew important conceptual dimensions from coping theory (e. and 'Method of coping'—The mechanism or mode the person uses during the coping process—cognitive versus behavioral. some researchers are relatively imprecise or casual about offering a clear statement of a conceptual definition of coping. In some cases the reader must infer a definition. it can be unclear which statement or statements in the introductory discussion serve as the base for the coping scale. Thus. The pioneering work on role stress by Kahn. We see them as threshold criteria that enable us to build a working evaluative framework to be potentially refined or expanded. 1986). As is evident from the integrative conceptual definition provided earlier. Problem-focusing coping is defined as efforts aimed at altering the person-environment transaction and emotion-focused coping refers to efforts aimed at regulating the emotions. 1988). is the coping measure specific! That is. several specific criteria emerge and these are discussed later under 'Specificity Comprehensiveness Comprehensiveness includes two coping dimensions: Focus of coping'—The target toward which the coping behavior is directed—the problem (situation at hand) or the individual emotional reactions. the labels 'Problemfocused and emotion-focused coping' have become popular. Focus of coping: problem versus emotion This major distinction highlights perhaps the most widely-accepted conceptual dimensions in the coping literature (Edwards.
1986). 1986. and gin approach (Switzer. obtaining resources to counter loss' was classified as problem-focused while "withdrawal' was classified as emotion-focused.. emotion-focused coping can take a cognitive form as in trying to see the positive side of things (Billings and Moos. Emotion-focused coping can also be behavioral in method such as exercising more or smoking (Billings and Moos. It is sufficient to note here. 1980) have identified subscales within the a/jr/ori problem/ emotion-focused categories. That is. for example. Moos et al. three problem-focused factors and one factor which combined both problem and emotion-focused strategies—support mobilization. 1981). problem-focused coping can also be cognitive such as taking extra care to plan and organize (Latack. however. growth. the coping strategy. Empirical evaluation did not confirm separate dimensions for problem-focused and appraisal-focused. such as trying to find out more about the situation (Billing and Moos. 1981). one general problem-focused factor emerged with six emotion-focused subscales (wishful thinking. 1984) or behavioral. Appraisal-focused coping. Latack s (1986) coping measure. In addition. The distinction between proactive/control-oriented methods versus escapist/avoidance . included items that measured problem-focused (direct action). In another sample. For example. these dimensions were more clearly understood according to the method of coping (control/escape)as discussed in the next section. and most basically. help-seeking/'avoidance. HAVLOVIC in Anderson s (1976) study of small business owner-managers. This issue is explored later when we illustrate how to apply the framework to coping measures. coping can be cognitive (mental strategies and self-talk) and behavioral (taking action or doing something). social solitary This second conceptual dimension provides order to the numerous subdimensions that have emerged within the global problem/emotion-focused categories. 1986. 1983. 1982). 1981. that many researchers separate cognitive coping. The number and content of these subscales differs across samples. Empirical analyses of the Ways of Coping Checklist. LATACK AND S. 1981). First. consists of modifying the meaning or cognition of the situation. minimize threat. Moos and Billings. Although the cognitive/behavioral coping distinction is a prominent theme in the coping literature. emotional support and blame selO (Coyne etal. C. appraisal-focused coping (Billings and Moos. problem. some measures are ambiguous on this point. or more readily-observable behavioral actions. Aldwin and Revenson (1987) factor-analyzed the Ways of Coping Checklist and identified four emotion-focused factors. control/escape. 1979). As the numerous coping dimensions in Table 2 reveal. which specifically focused on job stress. (Folkman and Lazarus.. is more supportive of the two global distinctions of problemor emotion-focused (Mitchell. appraisal-focused (cognitive reappraisal) and emotion-focused (symptom-management). Cronkite and Moos. the global distinction of problem/emotion-focused coping is insufficiently specific to capture the various subdimensions that have emerged in coping research. however. Method of coping: cognitive/behavioral. Latack.492 J. however. mental planning and other solitary cognitive activity from behavioral coping. jogging. Many well-known symptom-management coping strategies fall into the emotion-focused behavioral category. Empirical data. 1981) or thinking about the stressful situation as an opportunity to learn and develop new skills (Latack. sometimes referred to as cognitive reappraisal. which refers to self-talk. Rather. Similarly.or emotionfocused coping can be comprised of a variety of methods. popularly referred to as the "gelusil. J. 1983). Other researchers have proposed a third category. Parasuraman and Cleek.
they are measuring coping and coping effectiveness together—at least they are assessing one effectiveness measure. More specific measures also examine coping in terms of behaviors with stress management applications. 1985 for a review). For example. Coping versus coping effectiveness Job-related coping items should allow for independent assessment of coping and coping effectiveness. Thoits. take-charge approach (e. and 'Stress management applications'—The extent to which the dimensions suggest stress management applications. namely the respondents judgement of 'useful' Similarly. 1986). ') and coping effectiveness ( ' . 1980) and substitution of rewards and selective ignoring (Pearlin and Schooler. This control-escape distinction has been confirmed in other coping measures. . By asking respondents for ways they had found useful in handling tensions and pressures of their jobs. but making more mistakes^ Parasuraman and Cleek. Some of the Osipow and Spokane (1984) items imply effective coping as well. For example. in evaluating a job-related coping measure Latack (1986) found that items clustered in dimensions that reflected two methods: Control and Escape. For example. Clearly. For example. 1984) reflects an explicit choice not to use social coping. For example. 1986) is. . a coping item labeled a priori as maladaptive' contains both coping ('Working harder . Control strategies showed a proactive. O'Neill and Zeichner (1985) grouped items into two control methods (active cognitive and active behavioral) and one escape method (avoidance). Burke and Belcourt (1974) confound coping and coping effectiveness with the stem used to generate responses. 1983) or one can remind oneself that work isn t everything (Latack. 1978) are empirically distinct from escape-oriented strategies such as rationalization-resignation (Ilfeld. 1989. 1984). one can seek out information from others about the job (Feldman and Brett. a social coping method whereas "doing things by myself instead of with other people' (Osipow and Spokane. Latack. 'Coping behaviors versus coping style or coping resources'—The extent to which the dimensions focus on coping behaviors rather than stable traits or resources habitually used. coping style or resources. 1980) or optimistic action (Pearlin and Schooler. Coping can utilize methods that involve other people or it can be done alone. 1978). control approach differs conceptually from escapist strategies but each can focus on the problem or the emotional reactions. thinking positively about one's capabilities).g. Escape strategies consisted of staying clear of the person or situation or trying not to get concerned about it. Specificity Specificity refers to three major distinctions: 'Coping versus coping effectiveness'—The clarity with which the dimensions tap coping rather than coping effectiveness. the statement 'I find engaging in recreational activities relaxing' implies by one effectiveness . 1986). the role that social support may play in generating coping strategies has been explicitly highlighted of late (e. Coping measures do not always make this distinction. making a plan of action. In particular. A third category of coping method is social versus solitary.COPING WITH JOB STRESS 493 methods is also evident..g. probably because social support has emerged as a central concept in coping research (see Cohen and Wills. Measures which are specific do not include effectiveness criteria. A review of coping dimensions in Table 2 repeatedly suggests that control-oriented strategies such as action (Ilfeld. the proactive. The social coping dimension is evident in many coping measures. The concept of'cooperative task reduction' (Lang and Markowitz. by definition.
conceptual definitions and coding schemes as well as the coping items should point us toward independent assessment of a range of both coping and outcome variables that constitute data on effects and effectiveness. more specific approaches. C. Still others approach coping from the standpoint of a specific occupation. 1980). 'I am able to put the job out of my mind when I go home' Although the majority of items do not contain such clear implications of coping effectiveness. Although Osipow and Spokane (1984) specify their intent to develop a generic occupational stress measure. economic and social (Pearlin and Schooler. LATACK AND S.) and ask for specific coping strategies in each of these situations (Lang and Markowitz. relaxation. Ilfeld. J. complex models of coping must account for both the strategies an individual draws upon in situations as well as coping resources because coping depends upon coping resources. Lazarus and Folkman (1984) focus on a specific "encounter' They ask respondents to recall specific stressful incidents that occurred recently and respond with a particular incident in mind. As our discussion has suggested. I am able to stick to my priorities' implies a certain resolution or efficacy as does. There are. Finally. the item content provides a conceptual frame for coping assessed by determining the extent which someone utilized various resources in a particular stressful situation. how specific does the stressful transaction have to be to qualify as "specific'? Researchers have taken different approaches and ultimately the decision must be made according to each researchers' conceptualization of the stress process and research purpose. this discussion exemplifies the kind of conceptual analysis that researchers could use to evaluate the specificity of items relative to coping versus coping effectiveness distinctions. 1986). We argue that coping measures should specifically address coping. role overload. family. HAVLOVIC criteria at least. (See Lazarus DeLongis. There are studies of life stress that focus on specific roles in life such as work. However. role ambiguity. Thus. Coping processes versus coping style versus coping resources The second specificity dimension is the extent to which it is clear that the coping measure assesses coping processes (thoughts and actions) in specific stressful transactions as opposed to a stable coping style or coping resources regularly used. researchers can evaluate one specificity dimension by examining first the author's conceptual definition and then both the stem and item content of the coping questionnaire in order to insure that coping is measured independently of coping outcomes. Latack. Others ask respondents about a particular type of common job stress (role conflict. Folkman and Gruen (1985) and Aldwin and Revenson (1987) for a discussion). In these studies. the statement 'Once they are set. however. as did Kirmeyer and Dougherty (1988) in their study of police officers. 1978. that the person is already coping "effectively'. The a priori labels. Osipow and Spokane's (1984) measure asks about resources that people have to "counteract the effects of occupations stress' and assesses the extent to which various actions and thoughts characterize the person s approach on a regular basis. the stressful transaction is the individual's relationship with that particular role. Clearly. and have develop>ed coping items for a specific job. This is perhaps the thorniest conceptual dilemma that emerges from this review. That is. the issue of coping versus coping style or coping resources is raised to a large extent by the stem and response scale of the measure. Asking an individual . The coping measure then assesses how people deal with stress in these specific life roles. not coping effectiveness. Similarly. asking someone what s/he does on a regular basis differs in level of conceptual specificity from asking for specific thoughts and behaviors in a specific stressful incident or types of incidents on the job. 1986.494 J. etc.
Inherent in coping research. however. development of measures that are highly job specific retards the evaluation of complex coping models because of lack of generalizability. the current wave of organizational restructuring has layered a new form of stress on managers and employees that has intensified the pressure on researchers for management solutions. coping research argues for sufficiently generic measures so that other researchers might use the measure to advance theoretical understanding. we now illustrate how these dimensions can be utilized to evaluate job-related coping measures. the more general the situation and coping behaviors assessed. 1984) is more effective in assessing coping behaviors whereas asking an individual to adopt a more global perspective about what s/he does to counteract the effects of occupational stress (Osipow and Spokane. management strategy and employee training. Occupational specificity refers to measures that operationalize general coping dimensions in terms specific to an occupation. Stress management application The final criteria is applicability of empirical results to stress management in organizations. one conceptual issue is in fact a practical one: What do these measures suggest for helping managers address coping and stress management? Clearly. and conclude with several recommendations for future coping research. organization-specific approach as a base for stress management interventions. the less specific will be the possible suggested alterations to employee behavior. Thus. comprehensiveness and specificity. Therefore. Clearly. management may want a specialized. the field of management knowledge cannot be advanced if it is driven solely by pragmatic concerns. 1984) is more likely to tap characteristic style or habitual use of various coping resources. The authors express appreciation to an anonymous reviewer for this idea. Since organizational cultures undoubtedly influence the types of coping strategies used. asking about a situation that is very general or asking about regular use of certain coping strategies equates to assessing a cross-situationally stable coping style or coping resources. is the ultimate application of this knowledge to reducing the high costs of stress in organizations. to what extent does the coping measure suggest specific management interventions and training for employees in how to deal with stress on the job? Academic researchers have been criticized for focusing on research that does not tie closely to practical organizational problems (Behrman and Levin. Economic projections and continued growth in workers compensation claims related to job stress lend a particular urgency to the management implications of research in this area. because situational specificity is achieved by the orientation of the entire measure. On the other hand. 1984). the more general coping measures in Table 2 are more ambiguous relative to implications for managerial intervention. That is. work organization structure and processes.COPING WITH JOB STRESS 495 to respond with a specific stressful encounter in mind (Lazarus and Folkman. Furthermore. We recommend a middle-range strategy which is discussed under 'Future research' in the concluding section of the paper. Having explained the major dimensions of the evaluative framework. whereas occupational specificity is achieved by the content of the items themselves" At some point. . It has been suggested that situational specificity is addressed in coping measures that solicit responses to a particular stressful encounter. the specificity-generalizability balance may be a difficult one to achieve because contextual influences are critical factors in understanding job stress. On the other hand. This distinction is important. In addition.
1984). Behavioral coping methods can be further classified as social versus solitary.496 J. it provides a valuable supplement to traditional psychometric criteria such as factor analysis or measures of internal consistency. LATACK AND S. it should be noted that these dimensions could also be nested. 1989). C. social/solitary). 'Express your irritation to other work colleagues just to be able to let off steam' (cell D). Sample items that appear in Table 3 (cells A. The value of this conceptual framework is twofold. at a minimum. For example. Placing items in the appropriate cell illustrates how coping measures could be unbundled along conceptual lines to evaluate this most basic aspect of comprehensiveness. J. is both a social and an escape coping strategy.g. a cognitive item is: 'I think about how I might best handle the problem' (Carver et al. or to researchers who wish to integrate coping concepts into other naturally-related organizational research domains such as organizational entry^ or careers (Latack. Evaluating comprehensiveness: Focus and method The comprehensiveness dimension is first addressed with the 2 x 2 matrix which shows a crossclassification of coping items by focus (problem/task and emotions/reactions) and method (cognitive and behavioral). for example. Personal conversation. Similarly. Problem/emotions and cognitive/behavioral This cross-classification by focus and method was chosen because this four-way conceptual distinction was widely acknowledged in both the theoretical and empirical literature (e. Those measures that are comprehensive would. especially to researchers who are in the initial phases of a research program on this topic. the framework provides order and integration to the rapidly growing literature on general as well as job-related coping. This enormous literature can appear disorganized and unrelated. contain items that tap these four basic conceptual dimensions. B. . C and D) were drawn from the coping measures that focused on job stress or general measures that included job-related coping dimensions (see Table 2). 1989). Table 3 illustrates the evaluative dimensions with a 2 x 2 matrix which highlights focus. cognitive and behavioral coping methods can be further classified by control versus escape dimensions. Although more concrete. P. First. method and specificity. Although the item in cells C and D have been selected to illustrate the distinction between four subdimensions of coping (control/escape.. January 13. these measures sometimes yield conflicting results relative to the usefulness or the potential improvement of a particular coping measure. Although we have focused on job stress.. In cell C. It imposes order on the burgeoning coping literature and it supplements traditional psychometric criteria for scale development and evaluation. the approach offered here is applicable to any coping measure and other research purposes. Lazarus and Folkman. HAVLOVIC Evaluative framework applied to job-reiated coping measures: An illustration To show how the framework might be used by researchers examining or developing job-related coping measures. is both a social and a control strategy. In addition. 1981. J. Billings and Moos. The remainder of the discussion applies the various conceptual dimensions to examples of coping measures drawn from Table 2. Second. Furthermore.1989.. 'Ask caller to hold . some items are generally written such that they are ambiguous relative to the ' Wanous.
. 1988) Elscape: Had no emotional reaction (McCrae. one step at a time (Carver et al.COPING WITH JOB STR ESS 497 Table 3. Get mad at yourself and tell yourself that you could have avoided the situation (Dewe. taking pills. Violanti et al. tThe four subdimensions of behavioral coping are not mutually exclusive. 'Got busy with other things' (cell C) could be escape/solitary or escape/social depending on what those 'other things' were. Kirmeyer and Dougherty (1988) assessed only problem-focused behavioral coping (cell C). For example. in cell C.g. For example. 1981) more (Feldman and Brett. 1984) Escape: Got busy with other things in order to Change to a nonwork activity (Burke and keep my mind off the problem (Billings Belcourt. 1980) Solitary: Tell yourself difficulties are unimportant (Fleishman. 1974). but rather could be nested (e. 1984) I do what has to be done. 1983) Critical specificity questions: (1) Coping rather than coping effectiveness? (2) Coping thoughts and actions as contrasted with coping style or coping resources? (3) Applicability to job stress situations? •Cognitive coping methods have a solitary classification. (1985) assess only emotion-focused cognitive coping (cynicism—cell B) and emotion-focused behavioral coping (alcohol use—cell D).. delay or leave undone some of normal job responsibilities (Kirmeyer and Dougherty. 496. Other subdimension. Evaluative framework applied to coping measures FOCUS Problem/task Method* Control: Control: Emotions/reactions Planning. This is not . p.. not all four cells are represented. 1984) not communicating distress to anyone (Parkes. In some measures. 1984). See text. smoking and Moos. 1985) Solitary: Spend time on a hobby (O'Hare and Tamburri. 1984) Cognitive Escape: Try to think of myself as a winner — as someone who always comes through. 1986) Control: Behavioralt Ask callers to hold. 'Ask callers to hold . 1989) Control: Social: Express your irritation to other work colleagues just to be able to let off steam (Dewe. I am able to put my job out of my mind when I go home (Osipow and Sopkane. The Osipow and Spokane (1984) measure has fewer problem-focused behavioral strategies (cell C) and emphasizes items that fall within the other three cells (A.' is both a social and control strategy. B and D). organizing and prioritizing assignments (Parasuraman and Cleek. An initial evaluation of the comprehensiveness dimension could look at the representation across the four cells of coping items within a particular coping measure. 1984) A B C D Social: Sit down and talk things out (Ilfeld. 1985) Escape: Try to pay attention only to your duties in order to overlook difficulties in your work situation (Menaghan and Merves.
J. although people may solicit social support in order to implement cognitive strategies. there are research-driven reasons for selecting certain coping dimensions. Pearlin and Schooler's (1978) definition casts coping in terms of alleviating emotional distress. as noted earlier. Finally. behavioral coping strategies emphasize doing something. to conceptually confounding cognitive and behavioral coping. 1975) is suggestive of both cognitive and behavioral strategies. Comprehensive measures would include both social and solitary activities. we believe that despite the ambiguities. Many existing measures have not fared too well on traditional psychometric criteria. 1983). some items in coping measures conceptually confound cognitive and behavioral coping even when the distinction could be made according to the definitions offered earlier. It is not surprising. Clearly. mental activities. cognitive coping is by definition mostly solitary. we could argue that planning is the more clearly cognitive aspect whereas organizing is more suggestive of taking action. For example. all coping has both cognitive and behavioral components. continued efforts to distinguish the qualitative differences between cognitive and behavioral action coping are important. we believe that this qualitative distinction is a major point for future coping research. Finally. 1986. If we do not at least attempt to separate these constructs in the wording of our measures. broadly speaking. Social versus solitary The social versus solitary distinction mainly applies to cells C and D. that two of the three occupational coping factors were emotion-focused strategies (substitution of rewards and selective ignoring). LATACK AND S. As the items in cells A and B (Table 3) suggest. 1984). That is. 'Analyzing the situation and changing the strategy of attack' (Burke and Belcourt. 1985. If items cannot be clearly classified into one cell. then a review of researchers' conceptual definitions may preview the coping dimensions that are emphasized in the measure. The point is that focusing on certain coping dimensions and excluding others should be a conscious theoretical choice. C. measures of coping that are less comprehensive may originate with the conceptual definition that frames the measure. In a coping item that refers to planning and organizing (Parasuraman and Cleek. HAVLOVIC a criticism of these measures per se.498 J. particularly given the interest in . Although the cognitive/behavioral distinction is not always a clean one. analyzing the situation emphasizes thinking while changing the strategy of attack suggests doing or taking action. these empirical questions cannot be addressed. Whether or not these strategies or orthogonal or oblique remains an empirical question. Howard. taking action. Researchers will want to examine coping measures to determine if the measure is comprehensive vis-a-vis their research purpose. These evaluative dimensions. therefore. Although one could argue that. 1974. the action of soliciting social support is qualitatively distinct from the thoughts that are facilitated by the social support that is obtained. factors that are only behavioral or cognitive appear (Latack. Since the evaluative framework is intended to help researchers develop new measures as well as revise existing measures. references to cognitive coping emphasize solitary. constitute important comprehensiveness considerations. If researchers agree that our coping definition is appropriate for job stress research. One value of the framework would be to spur revision or adaptation of existing coping measures so that empirical questions about qualitative differences in the nature of coping can be further explored. item content may contain both behavioral and cognitive strategies. O'Neill and Zeichner. and this problem may be due. Fvidence indicates that cognitive and behavioral items may cluster together in some samples while in other cases. in part. Siegler and George. Other dimensions that define method of coping are illustrated in Table 3: control versus escape and social versus solitary. For example. Rechnitzer and Cunningham.
studies of relaxation methods and exercise suggest that periodic escape is a necessary component of coping. by definition tend to not be problem-focused because they are designed to get the person away from the situation. and . Evaluating comprehensiveness of coping measures would include an examination of whether or not both social and solitary behavioral items are included. since social support specific to the workplace is emerging as a critical variable in understanding job stress.g. coworkers).COPI NG WITH JOB STR ESS 499 social support. 'Try to think of myself as a winner'. Clearly. 1984). but also to separate social and solitary items so that social and solitary coping effects can be specifically evaluated. Escape-oriented behavioral strategies apply mainly to cell D. It may be important not only to cover both social and solitary coping. 1986).g. That is. the item. Osipow and Spokane. 1984. delegation and getting help from others) and "unilateral task reduction (e. 'Take some action to get rid of difficulties'. and applicability to stress management in organizations. a strategy that involves discussion with supervisors or making a plan of action is quite different conceptually than simply avoiding the situation or trying not to think about it. the list of specificity dimensions in the lower portion of Table 3 guides evaluation of the extent to which measures make important. Fleishman. coping versus coping style or coping resources. An illustration of a cognitive escape item is 'I cope by forgetting about the restructuring until it happens' (Ashford. Latack. Very few job-related studies assess escape-oriented behavioral strategies (e. 1984). Lang and Markowitz (1986) include both "cooperative task reduction' (e. escape strategies that are cognitive in nature. 'When I need a vacation. To make job-related coping measures more comprehensive. Furthermore. researchers could include more control-oriented emotion-focused coping as well as escape-oriented behavioral coping. 'Obtaining resources to counter initial loss' (Anderson. 1988). This omission of escape/avoidance items makes the measure less comprehensive. pp. Furthermore. For example.g. I take one'. in measures of coping related to role overload. 'Express feelings to self and others' (Dewe. 1976). supervisors. In contrast. For example. Control/escape The control versus escape distinction is also important. Scales that mention control-oriented cognitive strategies in the problem-focused category tend to be limited to mental planning or organizing. 134-138). including denial processes. may in fact be a very valuable coping mode in situation where the person is not yet ready to deal actively with the problem or where the situation is not amenable to change (see Lazarus and Folkman. cutting back on work).g. Few scales cover control-oriented emotion-focused categories (e. these strategies. 1984). Evaluating specificity of coping measures After examining the comprehensiveness dimension. 1987) combines both solitary and social coping. it may be important to include items that specifically tap coping related to various work-related support sources (e.g. We have noted two coping dimensions within cells B and D that have been de-emphasized in job stress research. Although there has been an historical bias against escapist strategies and "defense mechanisms' (Lazarus and Folkman. In using the critical specificity questions to examine coping measures contained in the studies listed in Table 2.g. we found that some of the items implied coping effectiveness versus coping dimensions. Our review of coping measures indicates that several of the job-related coping measures emphasize problem-focused coping that is both behavioral and control-oriented (e. specific distinctions relative to job stress: Coping versus coping effectiveness.
500 J. a review of Table 3 suggests that interventions can target numerous other types of individual coping strategies that are more problem-focused and control-oriented. and the continued broadening of research on stress management intervention in organizations. (1989) states. cognitive modification training). Clearly. 1980. Studies of job-related stress and social support (e.g. Serey and Graen. Morch and Chestnut (1984) 'What do you do to cope with the stress and strain of your particular job?' while very specific in terms of applicability to job stress has strong coping style and/or coping resource implications. however. the Solitary item from Carver et al. it is possible to make them job-focused (e. J. The framework presented here could be used to review the scope of stress management efforts with an eye toward taking a more comprehensive and preventive approach to stress management interventions. The framework illustrated in Table 3 serves as a conceptual blueprint for selecting from among previously-developed coping measures. one step at a time' implies a certain style of coping on a regular basis. In cell C of Table 3. relaxation training) or at cognitive emotion-focused coping (e. Payne. Matteson. The evaluative framework presented here would be a useful tool for stress management interventions in organizations. we suggest use of the evaluative framework in choosing existing coping measures or developing new coping measures. Both of these points should be kept in mind as researchers consider the potential impact of theirfindingson stress management interventions. Future research on coping: Suggested strategies The preceding discussion and illustration points toward suggested strategies to advance future research on coping with job stress in organizations. Other items have no connection to job situations and reflect strategies for getting away from the job to hobbies or other symptom-management strategies such as taking pills.. Stress researchers continue to be critical of organizational efforts aimed at symptoms rather than fostering individual control over conditions of working life (Karasek and Theorell. 1990). the general question posed by Shinn. Second. the pursuit of a middle-range strategy relative to situational specificity of coping. Relative to applicability to job stress situations. HAVLOVIC 'Accept the job as it is and not let it get to you' (Dewe. First. 1990). In each case a high score on the coping measure would suggest a successful or effective outcome. it is important to make at least some coping items in all four cells specifically applicable to job situations. We were also able to identify coping measures which were assessing coping style or resources rather than coping thoughts and actions. 1980.g. 'I do what has to be done. 'Express your irritation to other work colleagues . '). these programs tend to be aimed at escape-oriented emotion-focused coping (e. which applies only to jobs where it is appropriate to place callers on hold. Rosario. As is evident in some of the items.g. C. Freedman and Phillips. they cannot be generalized across a variety of jobs. Furthermore. LATACK AND S. There are two points for researchers to bear in mind relative to job specificity. the items in Table 3 show varying degrees of specificity. Specifically. For example. It is clear that stress management interventions have primarily targeted individual-level coping (Ivancevich. 1983) confirm the importance of coping that is rooted in and supported by the workplace. for adapting measures for a particular situation . Items in cell D are probably the most general in focus. McGee. At the other end of the continuum are items such as that from Kirmeyer and Dougherty (1988). Schlossberg and Leibowitz. although it is appropriate for some emotion-focused items to focus on areas unrelated to job situations because they deal with management of symptoms. 1987). Seers.g. if items are very occupationally-specific.
. social support). Clearly. Examination of this aspect of coping theory has been hampered by the fact that the majority of the studies have been cross-sectional. Additional studies that target situational stressors are needed. the framework guides the theoretical development SMI research. boundary spanners) or organizational events (e. However. researchers could perform an analysis similar to that provided in our preceding discussion to insure that coping measures used will be both comprehensive and specific in light of important themes that have emerged in coping theory and research. This would involve examining relationships between coping measures and a variety of theoretical correlates including individual variables (e. For example. coping is dynamic and changes over time. 1990). For example. Type A personality.g. role conflict and role overload are common stressors. One strategy is a middlerange' approach to the dilemma of job-specific versus general coping measures. supervisory coaching training. The evaluative framework here could be used to broaden this stream of research along the lines suggested.g. self-esteem) and environmental factors (e. In this process. An example of this approach is reflected in a recent adaptation of Latack s (1986) coping measure (Kinicki and Latack. Theorybased coping items that originally dealt with role stress were reworded to apply specifically to job loss. conflict management skills.. 1990). As previously noted. The focus of this paper has been the conceptual content of the coping measures. stress symptoms. we cannot develop measures specific to every job situation or generalizability of findings will be a problem. These represent categories of specific job stress situations that are sufficiently common to be a useful specific focus. etc. the cells in Table 3 convey a much broader theoretical domain to be attended to in SMI research. the examination of construct validity should include the process dimension—i. restructuring) have been identified.g. an important additional focus for establishing construct validity would be evaluation of the linkages between coping and other variables in the nomological net. First. Another example is Ashford's (1988) study of strategy for coping with organizational transitions. It is possible to identify common themes in these situations that will service as the fabric for specific content of coping measures. the current narrow focus on symptom-management strategies reflects implicit assumptions about the conceptual domain of coping. We suggest that researchers might want to begin with one of the more job-oriented coping measures and compare it to the general measures for missing content that should be added. Using the framework provided here.g. future studies on SMI's could focus on situation stressors directly relevant to various categories of coping. More recently. The situational interventions should make it more likely that people can use certain types of control or social coping strategies.COPING WITH JOB STRESS 501 and for development of new coping measures. which focused on employees of the Bell System during divestiture. researchers could adapt the general measures to focus on job stress among a particular occupational group or setting. It has been noted that several research issues related to stress management interventions (SMI's) need attention.e. evidence of convergent and discriminant validity should be presented. the issue of situational specificity merits further attention. Preliminary to use of coping measures for model testing. It has been argued that coping research is an area where longitudinal studies are not only recommended but required (Latack. job loss and the stressors unique to specific roles (e. Alternatively. 1986). including a stronger theory base. many of the problem-focused coping strategies suggest situational interventions such as participation. This strategy may make it possible to tie empirical efforts to both theory and stress management solutions. In addition. Second. Clearly. targeting situational stressors and focusing on relapse prevention (Ivancevich et al. A middle-range approach would be to identify categories or types of stress situations from organizational research.
Billings. 19-36. (1988). N. 'Coping with the stress of managerial occupations . Chichester. and Bhagat.) (1985). we hope this analysis will move us forward toward theoretically-based coping measures that can be used for testing complex coping models and for contributing solutions to costly stress management problems in organizations. J. 'Stress. Anderson. 2 7 ^ 0 . Journal of Applied Psychology. Cohen. (1988). 55-68. In: Cooper. N. 33. new dimensions may be added to the framework and existing ones may be refined. and Weintraub. R. G. outcome variables have been limited to attitude and stress symptom measures. Behrman. R. stress.. 299-335. (1987). (1974). HAVLOVIC Finally. R. 337-348. 9S. C . J. (1981). M. L. J. Human Stress and Cognition in Organizations: An Integrated Perspective. T. (1981). A. Aldwin. References Aldwin. 61. 50. and Lazarus. Journal of Business Administration. A. 'Managerial role strain and coping responses'. and Moos. and Revenson. C. and Weir. 'Are business schools doing their job?' Harvard Business Review. J. Wiley. G.. A. Burke. C. 'Individual strategies for coping with stress during organizational transitions'. 46. Our goals were to provide a mechanism for imposing meaning on a large body of research. H. Beehr. R. J. Wiley. (1985). Billings. Coping outcomes have been generally overlooked. U. Psychological Bulletin. (1984).K. A. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. J. and Belcourt. J. 140-146. C. R. (1984). P. Causes. S. 'Coping behaviors as intervening mechanisms in the inverted-U stress-performance relationship'. F. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 310-351. a set of criteria for choosing among existing coping measures and a conceptual blueprint for developing new measures or for adapting existing measures specifically to job stress. LATACK AND S. (1989). (1976). 53. the evaluative framework offered here is presented as a departure point. 24. Carver. and Moos. R. 5(2). and Payne. (1985). As such. Wiley. and Levin. 139-157. S. (1980). additional evaluative dimensions may emerge as recurring themes. H. C. (Eds. and Payne. 1066-1074. T. R. 'A factor analytically derived measure of coping: The coping strategy indicator' Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Research in Education. R. 90. 'Coping with work stress: An investigation of teachers' actions'. Scheier. In the process. 'Assessing coping strategies: A theoretically based approach'. a focus on relapse prevention studies suggests utilizing coping as a dependent variable. J. and social resources among adults with unipolar depression'. 439-447. 'Coping. R. (Eds) Current Concerns in Occupational Stress. Cooper. Does an individual's use of various coping strategies change or broaden as a result of the intervention? Do these coping strategies hold over time? The use of the evaluative framework presented here could inform both the theoretical scope and empirical rigor of future SMI studies as we look toward increasing our capability for preventive stress management. M. Studies of relapse prevention dictate assessment of coping over time. T. Amirkhan. (1990). 30-34. To conclude. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. S. J.Y. S. C. U. R. 4. 'The role of coping responses and social resources in attenuating the impact of stressful life events'. 877-891. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Ashford. L. 'Depression and coping in stressful episodes'. S. Journal of Behavioral Medicine. C. social support and the buffering hypothesis'. M. T. Chichester. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science. Dewe. 267-283. Burke.502 J.K. I. 'Does coping help? A reexamination of the relation between coping and mental health'. To date. 62. C. pp. 56. a summary of coping measures applicable to job stress was provided and important conceptual issues for research were discussed. and Wills. Coyne. A. As our knowledge of coping continues to accumulate. H. L. Ultimately. K. Coping and Consequences of Stress at Work. .
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Assessed: action Latack (1986) to change stressor situation.. factor analysis identified two factors: action and rationalization-resignation Eighteen judges place 39 coping items into five categories (control. and restricted expectations . (2) delayed or left undone some of their normal job responsibilities. For each scale Cronbach alpha and test-retest reliabilities are calculated. Items judged inappropriate or potentially offensive were deleted.506 J. none of these strategies). and (5) provided more or less individualized attention than usual to police officers who radioed in with requests') Measured coping strategies using a modified version of Hall's (1972) model Lang and Markowitz (1986) Coping measures developed from review of coping literature.0 using principalfactors factor analysis with an oblique rotation. HAVLOVIC Appendix A. 1980) Measured four specific occupational coping efforts: (Pearlin and Schooler's (1978) coping scales): direct action. symptom management. Correlations between the coping scales are also presented Factor analysis used to identify one direct-action (problem-focused) and five palliative (emotion-focused) coping factors Identified six major coping strategies using principal components analysis Dewe (1985) Dewe (1987) Feldman and Brett Coping measures developed from reviews of coping literature (1983) Havlovic and A modified version of the Latack (1986) coping scale was developed based upon Keenan (in press) factor analysis Howard et al. LATACK AND S. selective ignoring. cognitive reappraisal and symptom-management coping. 1980). Cluster analysis suggested three subscales: control. escape.g. reducing the length of the questionnaire from 64 to 51 items Problem focused coping items were used with a 5-point scale. and symptommanagement Manzi (1986) Menaghan and Merves (1984) Utilized the Ways of Coping Checklist (Folkman and Lazarus. ('.. 'Our jobs occasionally demand a good deal from each of us. Methodology for coping measures Author(s) Job stress Anderson (1976) Methodology Coding of critical incidents into coping categories Burke and Belcourt Coping responses coded from answers to three open-ended questions. more than one of these. (4) shortened conversations with other employees. C. they rated Kirmeyer and Dougherty (1988) how often they had (1) asked callers to hold while they finished dealing with other complaints. (e. (1989) Identified 12 coping factors with eigenvalues greater than 1. (3) spent less time than usual handling each request or complaint from the public. comparisons. J. escape. (1975) Illfeld (1980) Kinicki and Latack (1990) Kirmeyer and Diamond (1985) Coping techniques questionnaire based on Burke (1971) A priori categories of coping across life roles. What ways have you (1974) personally found useful in handling the tensions and pressures of your jobs?') 65 per cent of responses fell into five categories Carver et al. Twenty items showing content validity were factor analyzed Subjects completed a modified version of the 'Ways of Coping' questionnaire (Folkman and Lazarus.
Factor analysis Tamburri (1986) revealed four types of coping: support.COPING WITH JOB STRESS Appendix A (contd. and physical exercise Shinny/a/. problemfocused. Schooler (1978) Factor analysis of occupational coping items showed substitution. and suppression coping factors Confirmatory factor analysis of Economic Coping items yielded evidence of Pearlin £>/a/.' The item was scored on a 5-point scale Zappert and Developed indexes measuring coping style and coping strain Weinstein (1985) Ways of Coping scale factor analyzed revealing: emotion-focused.) Author(s) Job Stress Newton and Keenan (1985) Methodology 507 To assess coping behavior respondents were asked 'How did you handle the incident described above?' Responses were initially coded using a 29-category coding frame. (1984) Individual coping responses assessed with the question. Principal components (1984) analysis identified four coping factors: personal interest. Items were grouped into three methods-of-coping categories and two focus-of-coping categories Osipow and Coping items for Personal Resources Questionnaire developed from review by Spokane (1984) Newman and Beehr (1979) Parasuraman and Coping measures developed by coding responses to open-ended questionnaire Cleek (1984) asking for possible behavior by employees faced with stressful working conditions Pasasuraman and Coping measured using a 15-item checklist. Parkes(1984) direct. Use of alcohol as a coping response determined by the answer to the following statement: 'I have used alcohol to relieve the stress of police work. The items were grouped by method and focus of coping categories Revision and expansion of Billing and Moos (1981) coping measures General measures Aldwin and Revenson (1987) Amirkhan (1990) Billings and Moos (1981) Billings and Moos (1984) . Reliability analysis of coping behavior coding frames yielded a Cohen kappa value of 0. reactive and avoidant O'Neill and A 20-item list of coping responses (modified version of the Billings and Moos Zeichner(1985) (1981) 19-item checklist) was applied to a recent job stress event. Factor analysis revealed problemHansen (1987) solving and emotional coping factors Ways of Coping Checklist (Folkman and Lazarus. Initial 29 category coping set reduced to 15 because of the similarity of categories. Identified general. 1980).81. optimistic and ignoring coping factors Seiler and Pearson Questionnaire which included items on coping methods. These 15 items were collapsed into five higher-order classes of coping O Hare and A modified version of the Latack (1986) coping scale was utilized. (1985) Cynicism measured as a coping strategy on a 12-item scale adopted from Niederhoffer (1967). Frequency and level of effectiveness were rated on two separate 5-point Likert-type scales. (1981) 'positive comparisons' and 'devaluation' factors Pearlin and Coping patterns assessed with items developed from exploratory interviews. recreation. comraderie. and combination coping strategies Used factor analytic investigation which confirmed three fundamental coping strategies Measured how individuals dealt with personal crisis or stressful life event with 19 items. 'What do you do to cope with the stress and strain of your particular job?' Responses were coded into six coping categories Violanti e/a/. efficacy.
Cronkite. Billings and Finney (1983) Coding of open-ended responses according to matrix of coping orientation by coping modes (Lazarus and Launier. 1980). C. inhibition of action. J HAVLOVIC Appendix A (contd. 1980) and 50 new items measuring coping mechanisms Coping items from Moos.508 J.63. direct action. four scales were 1-item Modified version of the Ways of Coping checklist (Folkman and Lazarus. 1983) was utilized to measure avoidance coping Ways of Coping checklist (Folkman and Lazarus. palliation. 'How do you deal with these conflicts [experienced between your various roles in life]?' Health and Daily Living Form (Moos et al. and magical thinking Coping behaviors coded from open-ended question. problem-solving. LATACK AND S.. Factor analysis plus rational judgement identified 28 separate coping scales—mean alpha = 0. 1978) Initial attempts to develop checklist based on a priori categories from coping literature abandoned due to problems with internal consistency. information-seeking.) Author(s) General measures Coyne e/a/. Ultimately used category labels with definitions and coded participant responses McCrae and Costa (1986) Mitchell et al. 1980) and Coping Questionnaire developed from coping literature. Factor analysis for work coping yielded four factors similar to Pearlin and Schooler (1978) Ways of Coping checklist: Items covered defensive coping (avoidance). Describe coping strategy used for most recent stressful events Scale adapted from Pearlin and Schooler (1978). (1983) Siegler and George (1983) Stone and Neale (1984) . (1981) Fleishman (1984) Folkman and Lazarus Hall (1972) Holahan and Moos (1986) McCrae (1984) Methodology Ways of Coping checklist (Folkman and Lazarus.
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