Adapting the Brief COPE for Chinese Adolescents with Visual Impairments

By Yuan, Wei; Zhang, Li-fang et al. | Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, January-February 2017 | Go to article overview

Adapting the Brief COPE for Chinese Adolescents with Visual Impairments


Yuan, Wei, Zhang, Li-fang, Li, Bing, Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness


The present research applied and modified a coping measurement tool, the Brief COPE (Carver, 1997), among Chinese adolescents with visual impairments. Adolescence is a developmental period of personal and social identity, serving as a preparation for professional, familial, and personal future (Lifshitz, Hen, & Weisse, 2007). Adolescents with visual impairments tend to face typical developmental milestones during this life stage and, at the same time, experience extra strains associated with their disability (Huurre & Aro, 1998). Moreover, research has indicated that visual impairment might lead to a feeling of inferiority (Beaty, 1991) and, for adolescent students, place them at a higher risk of mental health problems than their sighted peers (Deng, Zhu, & Cao, 2012; Huang, 2004). This trend has become more noticeable in mainland China, where the population of students with visual impairments is reported to have increased dramatically in recent years, according to the national statistical data released by the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China (2012). This increase is attributed to a

series of Chinese governmental measures intended to promote special education and, thus, the enrollment in schools of children with disabilities has increased (Dong & Yu, 2015).

Coping is generally considered "the most potent of predictors" (Livneh, 2001, p. 153) of psychosocial adaptation to chronic illness and disabilities. The construct of coping has been frequently studied in terms of its crucial role in adjustment to adverse life experiences (Chronister, Johnson, & Lin, 2009). Results of such research might have provided an important perspective or basis for interventions and counseling services to the population concerned. On the issue of adolescents' coping strategies for stress caused by visual impairment, however, very few investigations have been made. To the authors' best knowledge, there is not an existing inventory specifically constructed to measure coping with stress caused by visual impairment.

Of numerous existing coping measurements, the Brief COPE (Carver, 1997) might be a good candidate for use with individuals with vision impairments, given its widespread application to multiple settings, including both typical (Miyazaki, Bodenhorn, Zalaquett, & Ng, 2008) and clinical (Snell, Siegert, Hay-Smith, & Surgenor, 2011) samples. Carver (1997) shortened the Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced inventory (Carver, Scheier, & Weintraub, 1989) to the Brief COPE for simplicity. The Brief COPE also stands out because it is intended to assess the core aspects of coping as summarized by Skinner and colleagues (2003). There are 14 two-item subscales in the Brief COPE, measuring 14 coping strategies: active coping, positive reframing, planning, use of emotional support, use of instrumental support, venting, self-distraction, acceptance, self-blame, behavioral disengagement, humor, denial, religion, and substance use.

Results of past studies have shown that the Brief COPE is a psychometrically sound measurement with certain limitations. The great majority of the scales have internal consistency coefficients higher than .60, the minimum requirement for a scale to be considered reliable (Nunnally, 1978), but some scales have demonstrated low internal consistency in a number of studies (Doron et al., 2014; Kapsou, Panayiotou, Kokkinos, & Demetriou, 2010; Snell et al., 2011; Yusoff, 2011). Resultant factor numbers of the Brief COPE from different studies varied from two (David & Knight, 2008) to 12 (Perczek, Carver, Price, & Pozo-Kaderman, 2000). Two broad factors have been repeatedly identified: one is the so-called "positive coping factor" (Miyazaki et al., 2008), which usually includes three subscales: active coping, planning, and positive-reframing (Carver, 1997; Miyazaki et al., 2008; Snell et al., 2011); the other is the social support-seeking factor involving use of emotional support and use of instrumental support (Carver, 1997; Kapsou et al. …

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