Coping refers to behavior that protects people from being psychologically harmed by problematic social experience, a behavior that importantly mediates the impact that societies have on their members. The protective function of coping behavior can be exercised in three ways: by eliminating or modifying conditions giving rise to problems; by perceptually controlling the meaning of experience in a manner that neutralizes its problematic character; and by keeping the emotional consequences of problems within manageable bounds. The efficacy of a number of concrete coping behaviors representing these three functions was evaluated. Results indicate that individuals’ coping interventions are most effective when dealing with problems within the close interpersonal role areas of marriage and child-rearing and least effective when dealing with the more impersonal problems found in occupation. The effective coping modes are unequally distributed in society, with men, the educated, and the affluent making greater use of the efficacious mechanisms.
Pearlin, L. I., &Schooler, C. (1978). The structure of coping. Journal of health and social behavior, 2-21.