Researchers have examined two basic dimensions of coping a vigilant confrontation, active coping and other avoiding, emotional or palliative coping. Lezarus (1991) separates problem focused coping from emotion focused coping. Another distinction is that of assimilative and accommodative. This had also been referred to as mastery versus meaning or primary versus secondary control. Individuals often change their coping strategies over time
- Problem focused coping: Problem focused coping refers to efforts that are directed at solving the problem at hand and includes several strategies such as seeking information, talking to a friend, spouse, acquiring necessary skills, making alternate plans or specific action taken and negotiation. Problem focused coping can be meaningful as well. This is because the person using problem focused approach engages his or her attention on a certain goal in turn the achievement of these goals increased the individuals sense of mastery and control over the situation both of which are essential for positive wellbeing. Such coping occurs when the individuals perceives the stressful situation as controllable and has been related to better adjusted outcomes
- Emotion focused coping: Emotion focused coping refers to attempts directed at emotions that accompany the stress. Emotion focus coping is exhibited in behavior such as avoidance minimization distancing and selective attention all of which work to cognitively reduce emotional distress. It has been empirically related to maladapted outcomes. Some of the strategies under this dimension include affective regulation which involves direct efforts at controlling emotions associated with a stressful encounter through strategies of postponing, paying attention to an urge, working through one’s problems: resigned acceptance. Emotional discharge refers to verbal expression.
- Appraisal focused coping: It includes logical analysis or trying to identify the cause of the problem paying attention to one aspect of the situation at a time, drawing on relevant past experiences and mentally rehearing possible actions and their consequences. Cognitive redefinition involves the individual accepting the reality of the situation but restructuring it in a favorable manner. These cognitive strategies include thing how it might have been worse, focusing in something good that has happened. Cognitive avoidance is another appraisal focused coping and includes denying fear or anxiety trying to forget the situation engaging in wishful fantasies.
- Avoidance oriented coping: It involves both task oriented and emotion oriented behavior that help the individual forestall dealing with the stressors and includes behavior such as seeking support from other people or purposely engaging in another activity. Although some researchers have found avoidance oriented coping beneficial in adolescents in high stress, other suggest that it is related to maladapted outcomes.