To study the relationship between cancer and emotional adjustment, investigation of situation-specific coping behaviors with respect to narrowly defined stressors has recently been promoted. The development and validation of shorter instruments, designed to facilitate completion by clinical populations, has also been recommended. The current study examined the coping skills used by French-Canadian women undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer. A factor analysis of the 28-item shortened COPE (Carver, Scheier, & Weintraub, 1989) yielded the following eight factors: disengagement, self-distraction, active coping, using emotional support from husband/partner, using emotional support from friends, turning to religion, humor, and substance use. The test-retest and Cronbach alpha internal consistency reliability coefficients of the French-Canadian shortened COPE were actually higher than those observed in the full-length version of the instrument. In addition, the eight factor-based scores correlated in a theoretically meaningful manner with existing measures of coping skills with illness (Coping with Health Injuries and Problems; CHIP) and mood disturbance (Profile of Mood States; POMS), thus suggesting good construct convergent and concurrent criterion validity. In particular, the disengagement COPE scale was correlated highly with anxiety, depression, and anger. While further validation is recommended, the results show promise for the shortened COPE in assessing coping in women with breast cancer, and also provide continued evidence for the notion that specific coping skills are associated with particular mood states.
ASJC Scopus subject areas