Longitudinal assessment of coping abilities at exacerbation and stabilization in schizophrenia

Rael D. Strous, Yael Ratner, Anatoly Gibel, Alexander Ponizovsky, Michael Ritsner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Coping strategies play an important role in one's ability to adapt to stressful life conditions such as schizophrenia. To better understand the nature of various coping mechanisms at various stages in schizophrenia, this study examined task-, emotion-, and avoidance-oriented coping strategies and explored associated clinical factors at exacerbation and stabilization phases of the illness. Method: Patients with schizophrenia were examined twice (at exacerbation phase, N = 237 and at stabilization phase, N = 148) with the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations, and standardized measures of psychopathology and emotional distress severity, side effects, insight, self-constructs, social support, and quality of life. Multiple regression analysis was performed with coping strategies as dependent variables at exacerbation and stabilization including analysis of any change during the 16-month follow-up period. Results: Analysis indicated that emotion coping strategies were used more at exacerbation than at stabilization phase. Regression analysis demonstrated emotional distress to be a strong predictor of emotion-oriented coping, with self-efficacy and social support being the best predictors of task and avoidance coping strategies, respectively. Individual changes in these variables also appear to be important predictors for fluctuations of these coping strategies over time. Severity of symptoms accounted for 3.5% and 5.5% to 9% of the total variance of emotion- and task-oriented coping strategies, respectively. Conclusions: Emotion, task, and avoidance coping strategies and their predictors are influenced and may vary over the course of schizophrenia illness. Experienced emotional distress, self-efficacy, and social support are the best predictors of coping strategies both at exacerbation and stabilization phases of illness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-175
Number of pages9
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2005


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