The role of coping strategies in people who have psoriasis: an investigation and pilot intervention

Hill, Laura (1999). The role of coping strategies in people who have psoriasis: an investigation and pilot intervention. PhD thesis The Open University.



This project consisted of a two pronged investigation into the role of coping strategies in psoriasis - a chronic, relapsing skin condition associated with impoverished quality of life and substantial psychological distress. The first study examined the relative influence of coping strategies on sufferers' subjective disability and psychological distress. The second study explored the efficacy of a pilot group intervention based on the format of Coping Effectiveness Training.

Study one utilised the theory of Appraisal and Coping (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) to investigate the role of coping strategies in mediating sUbjective disability and psychological distress in 89 psoriasis sufferers. Empirical definitions of adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies were used to categorise coping. Maladaptive coping strategies, in particular venting emotions and mental disengagement, were significantly associated with both subjective disability and psychological distress, accounting for a greater proportion of the variance on these measures than age, gender or duration of psoriasis. Adaptive coping strategies were not inversely associated with the outcome measures.

Study two piloted a group based intervention derived from Coping Effectiveness Training - a structured problem focused group - with a self selected community sample of 16 psoriasis sufferers. While the intervention did not yield significant changes on outcome measures relative to the control group, there was a trend for a reduction in subjective disability. Participant feedback suggested that the intervention was felt to be useful and that specific coping techniques had been acquired as a result of the intervention. Implications are discussed in terms of the roles of coping strategies and the use of structured group interventions in psoriasis, and suggestions for future research are outlined.

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