Assessment of Coping: An Empirical Illustration of the Problem of Inapplicable Items

Yossef S. Ben-Porath, Niels G. Waller, James N. Butcher

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The prevalence and effects of inapplicable items on the Ways of Coping Questionnaire (WOC) were studied. Three hundred seventy-six college students completed the WOC twice, referring to both heterogeneous (i.e., different types of) and homogeneous (the same) stressors. In addition to the standard procedure for administering this questionnaire, subjects were asked to identify items that were inapplicable to the stressors with which they were coping. Item inapplicability ranged from 2.1% to 83.9%, with a mean of 21.5% inapplicability across all WOC items. Application of a correction for item inapplicability demonstrated that situational effects are confounded by this phenomenon and. may not hold up when the correction is applied. Implications of these findings include the possibility that previous research has over- or misidenrified situational effects on coping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-176
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Personality Assessment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1991

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Data anaiyses were supported by a grant from the Universitõ~f Mirinesot~'~ Acahenic Conp~tingS ystems and Services to Yossef S. Ben-Porarh (the fjrst author). We thank Auke Tellegen for his helpful comment. on a previous version of :tiis manuscrip: 2nd Michai Chvat: Wendy SIutsice. and Nathan Teed for p. ,vc ,, .;~.,-I. m gthe racings used ir: :his s~~di7.


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