• kidney transplant;
  • patients;
  • general population;
  • coping;
  • Jalowiec Coping Scale;
  • nursing

Background.  There has been little research into coping process following renal transplantation, but it has been shown that health-related stress is not eliminated and that fear of rejection and economic factors are the most stressful issues. Coping strategies used have included prayer, looking at problems objectively, and trying to main control over the situation.

Aim.  The study was concerned with kidney transplant patients and their efforts to cope with problems posed by the transplantation and treatment. The aim was to describe and compare the use and perceived effectiveness of different coping strategies in people after kidney transplant with an age, gender and civil status-matched sample of the general Swedish population.

Methods.  Coping was assessed by the Jalowiec Coping Scale and self-rated efficiency with visual analogue scales. From a total of 73 post-transplant patients, a consecutive series of 30 was compared with an age, gender and civil status-individually matched sample of the general Swedish population (n = 30). Data were collected from 1994 to 1997.

Results.  The patient sample used significantly more optimistic, self-reliant, supportive and emotive coping than the general population sample. Evasive, emotive, and fatalistic coping were associated with low perceived efficiency in handling various aspects of the condition.

Study limitations.  The study design does not permit causal conclusions and the patient sample was relatively small and non-randomly chosen, which could affect its external validity.

Conclusions.  The results suggest that assessment of coping strategies should be explored in clinical nursing practice so that nurses can encourage the use of those likely to be more useful, and discourage those with possible negative effects.