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Coping With Chronic And Serious Health Conditions

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What is Coping?
The concept of coping has been used to describe components of the process of dealing with chronic and serious health conditions (Aldridge & Roesch, 2007). Although there are many definitions and theoretical models used to understand this construct, it is usually understood as cognitive and/or behavioral efforts to reduce or tolerate situations that are perceived as stressful to an individual (Aldridge & Roesch, 2007). Coping responses are cognitions and actions children and adolescents purposefully engage in to manage and adapt to stress (Compas et al., 2012). Lazarus and Folkman (1984) defined coping as “constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands that are
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Emotion-focused coping is an attempt to control internal demands and conflicts such as stressful emotions. Emotion-focused strategies include seeking social support for emotional reasons and positive cognitive reappraisal (Aldridge & Roesch, 2007). Problem-focused coping is an attempt to control external demands or decrease the mismatch between the individual and the individual’s environment. Strategies within this category include time-management, obtaining instrumental support, and planful problem-solving (Aldridge & Roesch, 2007).
There is not a single coping strategy or dimensions that are considered optimal when dealing with pediatric cancer. The most appropriate coping strategy and process should be appraised according to its impact on the desired outcome (Compas et al., 2012). Various coping strategies employed to handle disease- and treatment-related psychological distress have been reported in the literature (Clarke, 2006; Engvall, Mattson, & von Essen, 2011) and it has been proposed that age, gender, time since diagnosis, and temperament influence the type of coping strategy children and adolescents use (Miller et al., 2009; Phipps, 2007).
In addition to the problem-focused/emotion-focused taxonomy, a taxonomy that emphasizes the orientation of the coping strategy has been investigated in the literature (Aldridge & Roesch, 2007; Miller et al., 2009). Different descriptors have been used to explain how
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