Coping with chronic illness: The mediating role of biographic and illness-related factors

Linda L. Viney*, Mary T. Westbrook

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this research was to examine the mediating roles played by a range of biographic and illness-related factors in preferences for strategies for coping with chronic illness. Chronically-ill patients assessed their own coping strategy preference by ranking six clusters of strategies. Information was also obtained about their demographic characteristics, life styles, illness roles, the degree of their disability, their perceived handicaps and their perceived achievement of their rehabilitation goals. Multiple regression analysis of each of these six sets of variables on each coping strategy were carried out to identify patterns of association between them. (1) Preferences for action strategies were found to be associated with patient-related factors (demographic characteristics, life style and illness role). (2) Control strategies were associated with illness-related factors (illness role, degree of disability, perceived handicap and achievement of rehabilitation goals). (3) Escape strategies were ranked higher by women than by men, sex being their only significant predictor. (4) Preferences for fatalism, unlike those for action strategies, were associated with relatively low social status and relatively little interpersonal involvement or social commitment. (5) Preferences for optimism were related only to patients' perceptions of their handicaps. (6) Interpersonal coping was not found to be associated with any of this wide range of biographic illness-related factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-605
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1982
Externally publishedYes


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