ABSTRACT Hundreds of studies have now used standardized checklists to assess respondents' self reports of coping with naturally occurring stress. This article presents a critical review of the conceptual and methodological issues involved in the use of these checklists. As they are currently employed, conventional checklists render an incomplete and distorted portrait of coping. Specifically, these checklists are grounded in too narrow a conception of coping; the application and interpretation of checklists in the typical study are not faithful to a transactional model of stress and coping; statistical controls cannot eliminate the effects of key person and situation variables on coping; and no consistent interpretation can be assigned to coping scale scores. Researchers are encouraged to consider a broader range of methods for assessing coping, including semistructured interviews, customized checklists tailored to their specific hypotheses and objectives, daily diaries, and traditional trait measures.