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Keywords:

  • coping;
  • muscular dystrophy;
  • postpolio syn drome;
  • stress;
  • chronic disease;
  • student

One of the most widely used self-assessment inventories of coping is the Ways of Coping Questionnaire. The aims of the study were to describe coping with illness-related problems in persons with muscular diseases and to investigate the influence of demographic variables. Also, the reliability of the Swedish version of the Ways of Coping Questionnaire was to be evaluated. Forty-four persons with muscular dystrophy and 32 persons with postpolio syndrome, along with a comparison group of 214 students, completed the questionnaire. The findings of this study show that there are some different coping patterns in students as compared with persons with chronic disease. The coping strategy Distancing was used more and the strategy Accepting Responsibility used less frequently in the chronic disease groups and may be an expression of the inevitable physical limitations caused by the progressiveness of muscular dystrophy and postpolio syndrome. Furthermore, persons with muscular dystrophy also used less problem-focused coping in the form of Confrontive Coping and Planful Problem Solving when compared with the postpolio and student groups. In addition, women in the three groups employed the strategy of Seeking Social Support more often than did men. Regarding the psychometric properties of the Swedish version of the Ways of Coping Questionnaire, internal consistency was acceptable for the total score, but lower and not acceptable for several of the subscales. In the student group, but not in the chronic disease groups, there were low correlations between subscales, which indicate discriminative ability. More research is necessary to further investigate the reliability and validity of the Swedish version of the Ways of Coping Questionnaire before this instrument can be used routinely to assess coping patterns in patients with chronic disease.