Saturday, March 24, 2007

Problem and Emotion focused coping

Per Alm pointed out the wikipedia entry for coping. The description provides a very nice framework to analyse how stutterers deal with stuttering.

In coping with disease, people tend to use one of the two main coping strategies: either problem focused or emotion focused coping.

People using problem focused strategies try to deal with the cause of their problem. They do this by finding out information on the disease, learning new skills to manage their disease and rearranging their lives around the disease.

Emotion focused strategies occur when the person modifies the way they think, for example: employing denial, or distancing oneself from the problem. People may alter the way they think about a problem by altering their goals and values, such as by seeing the humour in a situation.

People may use a mixture of these different types of coping, and coping mechanisms will usually change over time. All these methods can prove useful, but some claim that those using problem focused coping strategies will adjust better to life.

Are you problem or emotion focused? Or maybe both?

As a scientist, I am certainly problem focused in the long-term, but sometimes I am emotion focused when coping with stuttering in my life, e.g. I on purpose ignore the fact that i stutter when I have to speak or else I would avoid not to speak.


Rae Ann said...

Another way of describing these methods of coping are "behavior modification" and "cognitive modification". It's been a long time since school for me, but these two approaches to behavior, psychology, and "coping" were the two "competing" theories at the time. Certainly it seems that a combination of the two is usually most effective for most types of problems. It seems especially difficult to really separate their influence and interaction.

Law Student said...

I am mostly problem focused, having successfully learned to navigate the world while hiding my stutter using various techniques. Since I've begun my blog, however, and have gotten involved with online stuttering communities...I've meandered somewhat into the emotion-focused realm, as I have begun to explore my emotions surrounding it.