An instrument to measure coping responses in employed mothers: Preliminary results


  • Dr. Clare Collins,

    Corresponding author
    • Michigan State University, College of Nursing, A-129, East Lansing, MI 48824–1317
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Dr. Clare Collins is an assistant professor in the College of Nursing, Michigan State University.

  • Dr. Louis Post

    Search for more papers by this author
    • Dr. Louis Post is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Okemos, Michigan.


The purpose of this study was to develop a survey instrument to measure coping responses in working mothers. Coping responses were defined as efforts to prevent, avoid, or control emotional distress. Based on interviews literature review, and a survey of existing instruments, items were developed to measure these three functions of coping behaviors. The instrument was distributed to 133 married mothers who worked at least 15 hours per week outside the home; response rate was 93%.

Nine subscales to measure coping responses in working mothers were identified. Alpha reliability coefficients for the subscales range from 65–90. Construct validity of the subscales was investigated by examining specified relationships between subscale scores and role strain measures. All but one of the subcaes were significantly correlated in the predicted direction with at least one of the role strain measures.

The final instrument, the Coping Responses Inventor (CRI), is comprised of 59 Likert format items from which nine subscale scores can be calculated. Some aspects of the reliability and validity of this instrument have been investigated, but confirmation of the findings await further study. Potential uses of the CRI are 1) as an instrument in survey research and 2) as an exploratory tool in counseling interventions with employed women with children.