Appraisal and coping as predictors of psychological distress and self-reported physical disability before lung transplantation

Eileen J Burker, Donna M Evon, Jan A Sedway, Thomas Egan
Progress in Transplantation 2004, 14 (3): 222-32

CONTEXT: Certain appraisals and coping strategies have been associated with increased levels of psychological distress and disability in other medical populations, but no study has examined this relationship with patients who are awaiting lung transplantation.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the cognitive appraisal and coping strategies used by patients who are pursuing lung transplantation and to evaluate the extent to which these processes are associated with depression, anxiety, and disability.

METHODS: This is a cross-sectional design with 160 participants (42.5% men) who have end-stage lung disease and were evaluated for lung transplantation at a large medical center.

MEASURES: The outcome variables of depression, anxiety, and physical disability were assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory, Spielberger Trait Anxiety Inventory, and the Sickness Impact Profile, respectively. The predictor variables, coping and appraisal styles, were measured using the COPE and the Stress Threat Questionnaire, respectively. Demographic variables were also assessed.

RESULTS: Patients used a variety of adaptive problem- and emotion-focused coping strategies. Hierarchical multiple regressions demonstrated that harm appraisals and the use of particular types of coping styles; namely, disengagement, avoidance, ruminating and venting emotions, low solicitation of emotional support, and suppressing other activities are maladaptive and were uniquely related to psychological distress and disability.

CONCLUSIONS: Maladaptive appraisal and coping styles can serve as markers of emotional distress and disability that may help the transplant team identify patients who may benefit from counseling and psychological interventions.

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