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Brief - Coping with Problems Experienced

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Purpose

The Brief COPE is designed to assess the varying coping strategies used by individuals in response to stress.

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Instrument Details

Acronym Brief COPE

Area of Assessment

Mental Health
Personality
Social Support
Stress & Coping

Assessment Type

Patient Reported Outcomes

Administration Mode

Paper & Pencil

Cost

Free

Diagnosis/Conditions

  • Brain Injury

Key Descriptions

  • The Brief COPE is comprised of 14 scales, each of which assesses the degree to which a respondent utilizes a specific coping strategy.
  • These scales include:
    1) Active Coping
    2) Planning
    3) Positive Reframing
    4) Acceptance
    5) Humor
    6) Religion
    7) Using Emotional Support
    8) Using Instrumental Support
    9) Self-Distraction
    10) Denial
    11) Venting
    12) Substance Use
    13) Behavioral Disengagement
    14) Self-Blame
  • Respondents rate items on a 4-point Likert scale, ranging from 1 - “I haven’t been doing this at all” to 4 - “I’ve been doing this a lot."
  • Each of the 14 scales is comprised of 2 items; total scores on each scale range from 2 (minimum) to 8 (maximum). Higher scores indicate increased utilization of that specific coping strategy.
  • Total scores on each of the scales are calculated by summing the appropriate items for each scale. No items are reverse scored. There is no overall total score, only total scores for each of the scales. Several studies have collapsed the coping scales into various categorizations of coping styles (i.e. maladaptive vs. adaptive coping styles, or problem-focused vs. emotion-focused coping styles); however, the test developers do not have a standard rule of how to generate these categorizations and instead leave this to the user’s discretion.
  • Instructions for the individual completing the Brief COPE are included in the beginning of the measure. Individuals are asked to indicate what they generally do and feel when they experience a specific or general stressful event.

Number of Items

28

Equipment Required

  • Pen/Pencil
  • Survey Form

Time to Administer

10 minutes

Required Training

Reading an Article/Manual

Age Ranges

Adult

18 - 64

years

Elderly Adult

65 +

years

Instrument Reviewers

Initial instrument review conducted by Samantha DeDois-Stern at the Illinois Institute of Technology (2015). Review and revisions completed by Kristian Nitsch, MS. (2/25/2015).

Measurement Domain

Emotion

Considerations

This instrument has also been referred to as the “Shortened COPE.” There is also a 30-item version, which assess one additional coping strategy referred to as “restraint coping” (Yusoff, 2010). Alternative language formats of the Brief COPE, including: Spanish, French, German, Greek, and Korean, are also available.

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Alzheimer's Disease and Progressive Dementia

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Standard Error of Measurement (SEM)

Caregivers of Individuals with Dementia (Cooper, Katona, & Livingston, 2008; n=125 adult caregivers, mean age= 63.8(13.3), were assessed at three time points: Time 1 (18 Months Post-recruitment), Time 2 (1 Year Post-Time 1), and Time 3 (2 Years Post-Time 1))

  • Dysfunctional Coping Score: SEM= 2.20**
  • Emotion-focused Coping Score: SEM= 2.80**
  • Problem-focused Coping Score: SEM= 1.80**

**Calculated using Chronbach’s Alpha for ICC

Minimal Detectable Change (MDC)

Caregivers of Individuals with Dementia (Cooper, Katona, & Livingston, 2008)

  • Dysfunctional Coping Score at 95% CI: MDC= 6.10
  • Emotion-focused Coping Score at 95%: MDC= 7.77
  • Problem-focused Coping Score at 95%: MDC= 4.99

Normative Data

Caregivers of Individuals with Dementia (Cooper, Katona, & Livingston, 2008; Time 1 n=125, Mean Age = 68, SD= 13.3; Time 2 n=92; Time 3 n=74)

Time 1

  • Dysfunctional Coping Score: Mean= 16.1, SD= 4.4
  • Emotion-Focused Coping Score: Mean= 19.4, SD= 5.3
  • Problem-Focused Coping Score: Mean=11.7, SD= 4.5

Time 2

  • Dysfunctional Coping Score: Mean= 16.0, SD= 4.2
  • Emotion-Focused Coping Score: Mean= 20.0, SD= 5.0
  • Problem-Focused Coping Score: Mean= 11.8, SD= 4.3

Time 3

  • Dysfunctional Coping Score: Mean= 15.9, SD= 4.6
  • Emotion-Focused Coping Score: Mean=21.2, SD= 4.5
  • Problem-Focused Coping Score: Mean= 11.4, SD= 5.0

Test/Retest Reliability

Caregivers of individuals with dementia: (Cooper, Katona, & Livingston, 2008; Time 1 n=125, mean age = 68 (13.3) years; Time 2 n=92; Time 3 n=74)

  • Assessed caregivers with the Brief COPE over three time points: baseline (n = 125, mean age = 68 (13.3) years), one year later (n = 92, no statistically significant age differences), and two years later (n = 74, no statistically significant age differences).
  • Adequate test-retest reliability for the comprised dysfunctional, emotion-focused, and problem-focused coping scores demonstrated with baseline scores that were significantly correlated with the same scores measured one year later (ICC=0.64, ICC=0.51, ICC=0.71 respectively; all < 0.001).
  • Adequate test-retest reliability for the comprised dysfunctional, emotion-focused, and problem-focused coping scores demonstrated with baseline scores that were significantly correlated with the same scores measured two years later (ICC=0.59, ICC=0.44, ICC=0.72 respectively; all < 0.001).

Internal Consistency

Caregivers of Individuals with Dementia (Cooper, Katona, & Livingston, 2008)

  • Dysfunctional Coping: Adequate (Chronbach’s a= .75)
  • Emotion-focused Coping: Adequate (Chronbach’s a= .72)
  • Problem-focused Coping: Excellent (Chronbach’s a= .84)

Criterion Validity (Predictive/Concurrent)

Predictive validity:

Caregivers of individuals with dementia (Cooper, Katona, & Livingston, 2008):

  • Adequate predictive validity over a 2 year testing period for changes in caregiver burden. Change in caregiver burden score was related to changes in the use of problem-focused (= 0.33) and dysfunctional (r= 0.32) coping strategies, but not the use of emotion-focused coping.
  • Using dysfunctional coping was predicted by reporting higher levels of caregiver burden (β = 0.36, < 0.001), more problem-focused coping (β = 0.31, < 0.01), and less secure attachment (β = -0.25, < 0.05).

Brain Injury

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Internal Consistency

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) (Snell, Siegert, Hay-Smith, & Surgenor, 2011)

  • Active Coping: Poor (Chronbach’s a= .57)
  • Planning: Adequate (Chronbach’s a=.73)
  • Positive Reframing: Poor (Chronbach’s a= .55)
  • Acceptance: Poor (Chronbach’s a= .55)
  • Humor: Excellent (Chronbach’s a= .82)
  • Religion: Excellent (Chronbach’s a= .89)
  •  Using Emotional Support: Excellent (Chronbach’s a= .80)
  • Using Instrumental Support: Excellent (Chronbach’s a= .87)
  • Self-distraction: Poor (Chronbach’s a= .43)
  • Denial: Poor (Chronbach’s a= .64)
  • Venting: Poor (Chronbach’s a= .50)
  • Substance Use: Excellent (Chronbach’s a= .97)*
  • Behavioral Disengagement: Adequate (Chronbach’s a= .69)
  • Self-blame: Adequate (Chronbach’s a= .72)

* Scores higher than .9 may indicate redundancy in the scale questions.

Content Validity

Individuals with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (Snell et al., 2011):

  • Confirmatory factor analysis provided adequate support for Carver’s (1997) original 9-factors of the Brief COPE (alpha values for the factors ranging from 0.50 to 0.97).

Exploratory factor analysis provided excellent support for a 3-factor structure of the Brief COPE for this population. The authors identified the factors as approach (alpha = 0.80), avoidant (alpha = 0.77), and help seeking (alpha = 0.84) coping strategies.

Cancer

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Normative Data

Female Breast Cancer Patients (Malaysian Population) (Yusoff, Low, & Yip, 2010; n=37, Mean Age= 49.1, SD=9.9; Measured at two times: Time 1= 2/3 weeks post surgery, Time 2= 10 weeks post-surgery)

Time 1 (2/3 weeks post surgery)

  • Active Coping Score: Mean= 5.84, SD= 1.5
  • Planning Score: Mean= 5.51, SD= 1.87
  • Positive Reframing Score: Mean= 4.96, SD= 1.18
  • Acceptance Score: Mean= 6.60, SD= 1.62
  • Humor Score: Mean= 3.40, SD= 2.10
  • Religion Score: Mean= 6.84, SD= 1.79
  • Using Emotional Support Score: Mean= 5.62, SD= 1.50
  • Using Instrumental Support Score: Mean= 5.84, SD= 1.72
  • Self-Distraction Score: Mean= 5.41, SD= 1.57
  • Denial Score: Mean= 5.70, SD= 1.47
  • Venting Score: Mean= 5.49, SD= 1.48
  • Substance Use Score: Mean= 2.05, SD= 0.33
  • Behavioral Disengagement: Mean= 4.70, SD= 1.13
  • Self-Blame Score: Mean= 4.92, SD= 1.01

Time 2 (10 weeks post-surgery)

  • Active Coping Score: Mean= 6.89, SD= 1.21
  • Planning Score: Mean= 5.83, SD= 1.67
  • Positive Reframing Score: Mean= 6.57, SD= 1.44
  • Acceptance Score: Mean= 6.71, SD= 1.63
  • Humor Score: Mean= 2.86, SD= 1.54
  • Religion Score: Mean= 7.09, SD= 1.08
  • Using Emotional Support Score: Mean= 6.09, SD= 1.40
  • Using Instrumental Support Score: Mean= 6.66, SD= 1.47
  • Self-Distraction Score: Mean= 5.48, SD= 1.84
  • Denial Score: Mean= 5.63, SD= 1.54
  • Venting Score: Mean= 5.60, SD= 1.58
  • Substance Use Score: Mean= 2.06, SD= 0.34
  • Behavioral Disengagement: Mean= 4.63, SD= 1.11
  • Self-Blame Score: Mean= 4.89, SD= 1.08

Test/Retest Reliability

Female breast cancer patients (Malaysian population): (Yusoff, Low, & Yip, 2010; n=37, mean age = 49.1 (9.9) years)

  • Excellent test-retest reliability over a 7-8 week retest window for the following coping scales: acceptance (ICC=0.99), denial (ICC=0.97), venting (ICC=0.92), behavioral disengagement (ICC=1.00), and self-blame (0.94).
  • Poor to adequate test-retest reliability over a 7-8 week retest window for the following coping scales: active coping (ICC=0.44), planning (ICC=0.42), positive reframing (ICC<0.00), humor (ICC=0.32), religion (ICC=0.45), using emotional support (ICC=0.33), using instrumental support (ICC=0.36), self-distraction (ICC=0.50), and substance use (ICC=0.03).

Internal Consistency

Female Breast Cancer Survivors (Malaysia)(Yusoff, Low, & Yip, 2010)

  • Active Coping: Poor (Chronbach’s a= .50)
  • Planning: Excellent (Chronbach’s a=.83)
  • Positive Reframing: Poor (Chronbach’s a= .60)
  • Acceptance: Excellent (Chronbach’s a= .80)
  • Humor: Excellent (Chronbach’s a= .81)
  • Religion: Excellent (Chronbach’s a= .92)*
  • Using Emotional Support: Adequate (Chronbach’s a= .72)
  • Using Instrumental Support: Excellent (Chronbach’s a= .83)
  • Self-distraction: Poor (Chronbach’s a= .57)
  • Denial: Poor (Chronbach’s a= .58)
  • Venting: Poor (Chronbach’s a= .54)
  • Substance Use: Excellent (Chronbach’s a= 1.00)*
  • Behavioral Disengagement: Adequate (Chronbach’s a= .74)
  • Self-blame: Poor (Chronbach’s a= .25)

* Scores higher than .9 may indicate redundancy in the scale questions.

Construct Validity

Discriminant validity:

Female breast cancer patients (Malaysian population): (Yusoff, Low, & Yip, 2010)

  • Active coping (p<0.01), planning (p<0.01), and acceptance (p<0.05) coping scales were able to distinguish between women with mastectomy and women with lumpectomy. None of the other coping strategy scales on the Brief COPE were able to discriminate between these groups.

Mixed Populations

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Standard Error of Measurement (SEM)

Inpatient Psychiatric Patients with Severe Mental Illness (Meyer, 2011;n= 70; mean age= 40.7 (11.97) years)

  • Adaptive Coping Score: SEM= .31**
  • Maladaptive Coping Score: SEM= .43**

**Calculated using Chronbach’s Alpha for ICC

Minimal Detectable Change (MDC)

Inpatient Psychiatric Patients with Severe Mental Illness (Meyer, 2001)

  • Adaptive Coping Score at 95% CI: MCD= .85
  • Maladaptive Coping Score at 95% CI: MCD= 1.18

Normative Data

Inpatient Psychiatric Patients with Severe Mental Illness (Meyer, 2001;n=70, Mean Age = 40.70, SD=11.97)

** (Scores for individual coping scales were lumped into composite adaptive and maladaptive coping scores, ranging from 1-4. NOTE: Non-schizophrenia comparison group members were diagnosed with another serious mental illness)

Total Sample Normative Information

  • Adaptive Coping Score: Mean= 2.37, SD= .70
  • Maladaptive Coping Score: Mean= 2.02, SD= .65

Schizophrenia Group (n=39)

  • Adaptive Coping Score: Mean= 2.16, SD= .70
  • Maladaptive Coping Score: Mean= 1.94, SD= .59

Non-Schizophrenia Comparison Group (n=31)

  • Adaptive Coping Score: Mean= 2.62, SD= .63
  • Maladaptive Coping Score: Mean= 2.12, SD= .71

Internal Consistency

Trauma Survivors (Carver, 1997)

**Chronbach’s Alpha coefficients averaged across all three administration times.

  • Active Coping: Poor (Chronbach’s a= .68)
  • Planning: Adequate (Chronbach’s a=.73) Positive Reframing: Poor(Chronbach’s a= .64)
  • Acceptance: Poor (Chronbach’s a= .57)
  • Humor: Adequate (Chronbach’s a= .73)
  • Religion: Excellent (Chronbach’s a= .82)
  • Using Emotional Support: Adequate (Chronbach’s a= .71)
  • Using Instrumental Support: Poor (Chronbach’s a= .64)
  • Self-distraction: Adequate (Chronbach’s a= .71)
  • Denial: Poor (Chronbach’s a= .54)
  • Venting: Poor (Chronbach’s a= .50)
  • Substance Use: Excellent (Chronbach’s a= .90)* Behavioral Disengagement: Poor (Chronbach’s a= .65)
  • Self-blame: Poor (Chronbach’s a= .69)

* Scores higher than .9 may indicate redundancy in the scale questions.

Inpatient Psychiatric Patients with Severe Mental Illness (Meyer, 2001)

  • Adaptive Coping Scale: Excellent (Chronbach’s a= .81)
  • Maladaptive Coping Scale: Poor (Chronbach’s a= .48)
  • Maladaptive Coping Scale (Without the Substance Use and Self-Distraction subscales): Poor (Chronbach’s a= .57)

Medical Students (Malaysia) (Yusoff, 2010)

Overall internal consistency was Excellent (Chronbach’s a= .85)

  • Active Coping: Poor (Chronbach’s a= .68)
  • Planning: Adequate (Chronbach’s a=.74)
  • Positive Reframing: Adequate (Chronbach’s a= .78)
  • Acceptance: Excellent (Chronbach’s a= .80)
  • Humor: Excellent (Chronbach’s a= .89)
  • Religion: Excellent (Chronbach’s a= .85)
  • Using Emotional Support: Excellent (Chronbach’s a= .82)
  • Using Instrumental Support: Excellent (Chronbach’s a= .80)
  • Self-distraction: Poor (Chronbach’s a= .57)
  • Denial: Adequate (Chronbach’s a= .74)
  • Venting: Poor (Chronbach’s a= .56)
  • Substance Use: Excellent (Chronbach’s a= .87)
  • Behavioral Disengagement: Excellent (Chronbach’s a= .84)
  • Self-blame: Excellent (Chronbach’s a= .80)

* A 15th coping style “Restraint Coping” showed Adequate internal consistency (Chronbach’s a= .64)

Criterion Validity (Predictive/Concurrent)

Concurrent validity:

Inpatient psychiatric patients with severe mental illness (Meyer, 2001):

  • Adequate concurrent validity of the comprised adaptive coping score as adaptive coping was significantly negatively related to schizophrenic symptoms (measured by the BPRS) in the total sample (r=-0.44) and schizophrenia group (r=-0.49).
  • Adequate concurrent validity of the comprised adaptive coping score as adaptive coping was significantly positively related to psychological well-being (measured by the PWBQ-9) in the total sample (r=0.28) and schizophrenia group (r=0.62).
  • Adequate concurrent validity of the comprised adaptive coping score as adaptive coping was significantly positively related to positive social functioning (SAS) in the total sample (r=0.33).
  • Adequate concurrent validity of the comprised maladaptive coping score as maladaptive coping was significantly positively related to depression (measured by the MHRSD) in the total sample (r=0.37) and non-schizophrenia group (r=0.41)
  • Adequate concurrent validity of the comprised maladaptive coping score as maladaptive coping was significantly negatively related to well-being (measured by the PWBQ-9) in the total sample (r=-0.26) and non-schizophrenia group (r=-0.44).

Content Validity

Medical students (Yusoff, 2010):

  • Confirmatory factor analysis provided adequate support for Carver’s (1997) original 9-factors on the 30-item Brief COPE (factor loadings ranging from 0.49 to 0.92).

Trauma Survivors (from Hurricane Andrew ) ( Carver, 1997):

  • The author reported that the factor structure of the Brief COPE was “remarkably similar” to the factor structure of the full COPE. Only 3 scales of the Brief COPE (positive reframing, self-distraction, and venting) loaded differently than on the full COPE. However, this was expected because all of these scales were either new additions, or were modified on the brief COPE.

Bibliography

Carver, C.S. (1997). You want to measure coping but your protocol’s too long: Consider the Brief COPE. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 4, 92-100.

Carver, C.S. (n.d.) Brief COPE. Retrieved from http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/ccarver/sclBrCOPE.html

Carver, C.S., Scheier, M.F., & Weintraub, J.K. (1989). Assessing coping strategies: A theoretically based approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 267-283.

Cooper, C., Katona, C., & Livingston, G. (2008). Validity and reliability of the Brief COPE in carers of people with dementia: the LASER-AD study. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 196, 838-843.

Meyer, B. (2001). Coping with severe mental illness: Relations of the Brief COPE with symptoms, functioning, and well-being. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 23, 265-277.

Snell, D.L., Siegert, R.J., Hay-Smith, E.J.C., & Surgenor, L.J. (2011). Factor structure of the Brief COPE in people with mild traumatic brain injury. Journal of Head Trauma and Rehabilitation, 26, 468-477.

Yusoff, N. S. B. (2010). A multicenter study on validity of the 30-items Brief COPE in identifying coping strategies among medical students. International Medical Journal, 17, 249-253.

Yusoff, N., Low, W. Y., & Yip, C. H. (2010). Reliability and validity of the Brief COPE scale (English version) among women with breast cancer undergoing treatment of adjuvant chemotherapy: A Malaysian study. Medical Journal of Malaysia, 65, 41-44.

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