Coping: The Psychology of What Works

Coping: The Psychology of What Works

Coping: The Psychology of What Works

Coping: The Psychology of What Works

Synopsis

Most people take the process of coping for granted as they go about their daily activities. In many ways, coping is like breathing, an automatic process requiring no apparent effort. However, when people face truly threatening events--what psychologists call stressors--they become acutely aware of the coping process and respond by consciously applying their day-to-day coping skills. Coping is a fundamental psychological process, and people's skills are commensurately sophisticated. This volume builds on people's strengths and emphasizes their role as positive copers. It features techniques for preventing psychological problems and breaks from the traditional research approach, which is modeled on medicine and focuses on pathology and treatment. Collecting both award-winning research and new findings, this book may well set the agenda for research on stress and coping for the next century. These provocative and readable essays explore a variety of topics, including reality negotiation, confessing through writing, emotional intelligence, optimism, hope, mastery-oriented thinking, and more. Unlike typical self-help books available at any newsstand, this volume features the work of some of the most eminent researchers in the field. Yet like those books it is written for the general reader, as well as for the specialist, and includes numerous practical suggestions and techniques. It will prove an invaluable tool for a wide range of readers.

Excerpt

The genesis of this volume was the 1987Snyder andFord edited volume entitled Coping with Negative Life Events: Clinical and Social Psychological Perspectives. That edited volume brought together social and clinical psychologists on a topic that had provided a natural common turf for them--coping. Much to my surprise and delight, that volume proved to be a useful one to the people who do work in this area, at least as judged by the feedback that I received from both applied and research-oriented professionals who had read it. It has been more than a decade since that coping book was published, however, and in the last several years I have been asked about the possibility of a new book on coping, one that bridges the work of clinical and social psychologists, as well as personality psychologists. The present volume provides such an update and overview of coping as we close the present twentieth century. Although this book is by no means exhaustive in terms of covering the many new and exciting developments in the field of coping, it does give the reader a sampling of the advances that have been made.

I want to thank publicly the prominent scholars whose work fills the pages of the present volume. Their thinking has helped to define the progress that has been made on the concept of coping. Although there obviously are many scholars whose work I was not able to include here because of space constraints, I believe that the present writers offer an excellent overview of this burgeoning field. Furthermore, contrary to the horror stories that I have heard about how difficult it is to get the truly prominent scholars to participate in such an edited book project, I had not a single turndown. Indeed, everyone agreed to participate, and I am enormously grateful to these busy people for carving out the time necessary to provide their forward-looking chapters. Likewise, in contrast to the supposed prob-

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