Research Reports - Stability of coping and the role of self-efficacy in the first year following mild traumatic brain injury

 Soc Sci Med. 2017 May;181:184-190. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.03.025. Epub
2017 Apr 3.

Scheenen ME(1), van der Horn HJ(2), de Koning ME(3), van der Naalt J(4), Spikman

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Coping, the psychological adaptation to stressors and
serious life events, has been found to have a great influence on the development
and persistence of posttraumatic complaints. Coping has received much attention
for having been found to be modifiable in treatment following mild traumatic
brain injury (mTBI) and for its potential to identify the Patients who are at
risk of suffering from long-term complaints. Currently, coping styles are assumed
to be stable over time. Although interventions to facilitate adaptive coping are
given at different time intervals after the injury, little is known about
spontaneous changes in preferred strategies over time following mTBI. This study
aimed to investigate the stability of different coping styles over a one-year
period following mTBI (at two weeks', six and twelve months' post-injury) and to
investigate the relation between coping styles and feelings of self-efficacy.
METHODS: We included 425 mTBI patients (Glasgow Coma Scale [GCS] score 13-15)
admitted to three Level-1 trauma centers in the Netherlands as part of a
prospective follow-up study. All participants filled out The Utrecht Coping List
(UCL) to determine their position on seven coping subscales.
RESULTS: Most coping styles showed a decrease over time, except for positive
reframing, which showed a decrease and then increased. Interestingly, the passive
coping style was found to stabilize over time within the year after injury. High
feelings of self-efficacy were related to a high active coping style (r = 0.36),
and low feelings of self-efficacy with passive coping (r = -0.32).
CONCLUSIONS: These results hold important possibilities for the use of the
passive coping strategy as an inclusion criterion for intervention studies and an
entry point for treatment itself. Considering the intertwinement of coping with
self-efficacy, improving feelings of self-efficacy could form an effective part
of an intervention to improve outcome. 

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