Trauma coping strategies and psychological distress: A meta-analysis


  • Portions of this article were presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, Washington, DC, 2007.


The identification of adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies following traumatic events has been the subject of much scientific inquiry. The current study sought through meta-analysis to evaluate the relationship between the use of approach and avoidance strategies (both problem-focused and emotion/cognitive focused) following trauma and psychological distress. Thirty-nine studies of coping following two types of traumatic events (interpersonal violence and severe injury) were retained in the meta-analysis. There was a consistent association between avoidance coping and distress, overall r = .37, but no association between approach coping and distress, overall r = −.03, but some important moderators existed. Implications of the results for future research regarding coping and trauma recovery are discussed.