Coping Inventory ( A guide)

This article will brief about Coping Inventory and then coping styles.

Then it will discuss coping strategies and different types of it after that some efficient coping strategies will also be discussed.

Later it will highlight what are coping questionnaires and why reliability and validity are required.

Finally, some coping inventories will be discussed.


Coping Inventory refers to the measure of adapting behaviour.

It generally focuses on only two aspects- The Self and The Environment.

The inventory observes the individual’s behaviour patterns and his specific skills which helps in meeting personal needs and in adapting the societal or environmental demands. 

Coping Styles:

For the overall physical and psychological well-being of an individual, a particular coping style plays an important role.

Everybody has their own and unique coping styles and this comes into existence when the individuals are experiencing negative and stressful situations.

It is the mixture of attributional style and overall outlook of the situation.

We respond differently to the same stressful situation, because of the different upbringing style, personality traits, environment, social support and individual life experiences.


Every individual has it’s own unique way of coping and those coping ways are referred to as their personal coping strategies.

How a person regulates his response in a difficult stressful situation is his coping strategy.

There can be two types of coping strategies either constructive or destructive.

Constructive strategies are positive, they help in coming out of the problem and destructive strategies are negative, they bring another set of problems rather solving the problem eg. alcohol consumption in order to release stress.

Different types of coping strategies:

The different types of coping strategies are-

  • Problem-Focused Strategy-

In this strategy, the main focus is on the problem and what possible solution it can have is the main motive.

Examples would be like-

  1. Analysing the stressful situation, what has led to the problem, what possibles measures can be applied and what extra responsibility can be avoided. Prioritizing things are very important in this.
  1. Work harder on the possible solution. The problem doesn’t come without any possible solution, we just need to find it and work on it.
  1. Make a list of “what have we learned so far?” It’s not like we handle different problems all the time, we come across the same hardships multiple times and every time we have an extra experience of it. Therefore, try and find solutions from previous experiences
  1. Talk to people who have direct contact with the solution. For example, if you’re going to late for office, call your boss and explain the situation and ask for some relaxation 
  • Emotion-focused Strategy:

These strategies help in focusing on our emotional vulnerability, rather focusing on the problem-

  1. We brood about thing we don’t like but we don’t get rid of it as it will increase the negative emotion
  1. We imagine that life would be better and feel happy for some time. This magical thinking boosts our moral for some time
  1. We accept avoiding vs fighting situation, we try to avoid the situation rather facing it
  1. Playing blame game also works in this strategy, blaming others seem to the best option in securing our self-esteem and ego. Blaming self also sometimes a part of it.
  1. Support of friends look the best, we like to talk about miseries with our friends in order to feel better.

Efficient Coping Strategies:

  • Try to stay positive and don’t lose hope. Always remember that nothing is permanent
  • Don’t over-react, over-reacting makes the stressful situation worse than it already is
  • Have a positive and objective outlook of the situation
  • Talk it out, it helps in releasing the stress
  • Acceptance is the key. Accept yourself as you are, nobody is perfect and so are you, accept it
  • Make connections with people and socialize
  • Learn from your mistakes and experiences, try to apply them in the future decision-making process
  • Deal with the success as well
  • Develop control over you, this will help in engaging tasks that you have assigned for yourself
  • Maintenance is as important as consistency

Coping skills make you learn effective strategies for every situation, you just need to trust your instincts.


Coping Questionnaires contain questions to measure certain abilities to self-regulate in different stressors.

These questions help in understanding our coping strategies which we use towards different stressful situations in our lives. 

Reliability and Validity:

Reliability refers to the constancy and stability.

The questionnaires are constructed to measure something and its important that the results are constant and stable.

The validity, on the other hand, refers that we are measuring what we want to measure.

To develop a test or an inventory the reliability and validity tests are important and if it passes successfully then only the inventory is considered to be conducted


The COPE Inventory:

The COPE Inventory was developed by Carver and it stands for Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced and the questionnaire asks, how do we generally feel when we are stressed.

There are no right or wrong answers in the questionnaire

There are two main components to the COPE inventory: problem-focused coping and emotion-focused coping.

Problem-focused coping

  1. Active Coping
  2. Planning
  3. Suppression of Competing Activities
  4. Restraint Coping
  5. Seeking of Instrumental Social Support

Emotion-focused coping

  1. Seeking of Emotional Social Support
  2. Positive Reinterpretation
  3. Acceptance
  4. Denial
  5. Turning to Religion

It also contains three scales aimed at measuring coping responses:

  1. Focus on and Venting of Emotions
  2. Behavioural Disengagement
  3. Mental Disengagement

To score the COPE Inventory, one needs to first respond to each of the statements with a score from 1 to 4, as follows:

1 – I usually don’t do this at all

2 – I usually do this a little bit

3 – I usually do this a medium amount

4 – I usually do this a lot

Each statement in the inventory is then focusses on a specific coping strategy that is either the problem-focused, emotion-focused, or coping responses measures.

Your scores will inform you which form of coping strategy you are more engaged in.

Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS):

CISS was developed by Norman and James is a scale for measuring multidimensional coping.

It has 48 items and can be used for ages 13 and above. Overall administration time is 10 minutes.

In this, the respondents are asked to rate each of the 48 items on a five-point Likert-type rating scale ranging from (1) “Not at all” to (5) “Very much.”

The three coping dimensions of the CISS are-

Task– It describes the task-oriented efforts which are aimed at problem-solving.

Emotion– It describes emotional reactions that are self-oriented and aims at reducing stress

Avoidance– It describes activities that are aimed at avoiding a stressful situation.

There are two subscales for avoidance-oriented scale- Distraction and Social Diversion.


This blog has discussed about Coping Inventory and Coping styles.

It has also informed the different types of coping strategies and highlighted some efficient strategies as well.

Then it focused on what are Coping Questionnaires and what is the role of reliability and validity in that.

And then finally discussed about some coping inventories and what does it measure.


What is the difference between coping styles and coping strategies?

Coping style is a mixture of attributional style and overall outlook on finding a solution whereas coping strategy is the available response to the stress that an individual has.

What is an inventory?

An inventory is a set of questions which is used to measure something and give an appropriate result.


“Coping Strategies” (2019). Centre for studies on human stress


Mead, E. (2020). 6 Scales to Measure Coping+The Brief Cope Inventory

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!