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Abstract

Coping is a complex process. It is variously described as a situational and as a trait-like response, as a response to stress and as a disposition to respond to change. In this article, we review the current research on coping within the context of considering the contributions of the articles presented in this series. We present two broad views of coping, the more general one under the title of “coping response” defines coping as containing emotional, behavioral, and cognitive qualitites. It is generally considered to be a stress-specific pattern by which an individual's perceptions, emotions, and behaviors prepare for adapting and changing. The more narrow view of coping is described here as “coping style” and represents a more observable but general style of interacting. In this usage, coping is a trait-like variable that is activated when an environment changes in some way. It resembles other personality qualities and describes dispositions to respond in certain ways. In this article, we consider the implications and extant knowledge about coping within these two definitions, with special consideration to the prediction of treatment processes and outcomes. The articles in this series are discussed both in terms of extant research on these two views of coping and in terms of their contributions to the available literature on coping and coping responses. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol, 2003.