This study explores self-reported coping preferences of students in medical school over time. A coping instrument that includes 12 subscales was used with 121 students in Hong Kong who responded to these and other inventories at two points in time within 8 months. Beyond the description of mean differences, several methodological issues of coping assessment are raised, in particular the issues of stability, generality, and dimensionality of psychometric scales to measure coping. It turned out that the stability over time was very low, which might be seen as evidence for more situation-dependent than personality-dependent coping. In principal component analyses, different coping dimensions emerged at Time 1 and Time 2. In regression analyses, subsequent coping strategies could hardly be predicted by antecedent coping strategies. The pattern of results supports the view that coping assessment might be of limited value when done in a trait-like manner. Rather, situation-oriented coping assessment strategies might be more valid.
ASJC Scopus subject areas