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The dynamics of symptomatic and non-symptomatic coping with psychotic symptoms in the flow of daily life

Authors

  • M. Lardinois,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, South Limburg, Mental Health Research and Teaching Network, EURON, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands
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  • I. Myin-Germeys,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, South Limburg, Mental Health Research and Teaching Network, EURON, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands
    2. Mondriaan Zorggroep, Section Social Cognition, Heerlen, the Netherlands
    3. School of Psychological Sciences, Manchester University, Manchester, UK
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  • M. Bak,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, South Limburg, Mental Health Research and Teaching Network, EURON, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands
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  • R. Mengelers,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, South Limburg, Mental Health Research and Teaching Network, EURON, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands
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  • J. Van Os,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, South Limburg, Mental Health Research and Teaching Network, EURON, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands
    2. Division of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK
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  • P. A. E. G. Delespaul

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, South Limburg, Mental Health Research and Teaching Network, EURON, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands
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Dr Inez Myin-Germeys, Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, Maastricht University, PO Box 616 (VIJV1), 6200 MD Maastricht, the Netherlands.
E-mail: i.germeys@sp.unimaas.nl

Abstract

Objective:  Previous research has suggested that going along with psychotic symptoms (symptomatic coping) is less effective than other coping strategies with psychotic symptoms. This pilot study aims to validate such findings using a momentary assessment strategy of coping with stress in daily life.

Method:  Patients with psychosis (n = 35) were studied with the Experience Sampling Method (ESM; a structured diary technique) to assess coping with stress in daily life. This was analysed in relation to coping with psychotic symptoms using a previously validated interview (Maastricht Assessment of Coping Strategies).

Results:  Symptomatic and non-symptomatic coping were negatively associated with each other. Symptomatic coping was negatively associated with the level of coping in daily life, whereas a positive association was apparent for non-symptomatic coping. Non-symptomatic coping, but not symptomatic coping, predicted appraisals of distress associated with psychotic symptoms.

Conclusion:  Effective coping may be associated with the tendency to develop conscious appraisals of distress associated with psychotic symptoms.

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