Coping: Pitfalls and promise

Susan Folkman*, Judith Tedlie Moskowitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2048 Scopus citations


Coping, defined as the thoughts and behaviors used to manage the internal and external demands of situations that are appraised as stressful, has been a focus of research in the social sciences for more than three decades. The dramatic proliferation of coping research has spawned healthy debate and criticism and offered insight into the question of why some individuals fare better than others do when encountering stress in their lives. We briefly review the history of contemporary coping research with adults. We discuss three primary challenges for coping researchers (measurement, nomenclature, and effectiveness), and highlight recent developments in coping theory and research that hold promise for the field, including previously unaddressed aspects of coping, new measurement approaches, and focus on positive affective outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)745-774
Number of pages30
JournalAnnual review of psychology
StatePublished - 2004


  • Coping and meaning
  • Coping critique
  • Coping effectiveness
  • Coping measurement
  • Positive emotion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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