Endler & Parker - CISS: Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations

The Structure of Concern Project compares many theoretical models from many disciplines to the Adizes PAEI model, arguing that they must all be reflecting the same underlying phenomenon. One concern structure model is described below.

CISS is a four-factor model of human coping with adversity developed by Endler and Parker (1990; Avero et al., 2003). Their construct differentiates three types of coping: emotion-oriented, task oriented, and avoidant. The avoidant style has two dimensions: distraction and social diversion. These coping categories scatter across the PAEI categories as follows:

P – Task-oriented coping: a primary control style that is adaptive when situations are appraised as changeable. Focus is maintained and emotions are controlled. This can be maladaptive for complex changing social problems.

A – Emotion-oriented coping: a secondary control style adaptive when situations are appraised as unchangeable. The aim is to reduce stress, but over the long term it can increase stress and produce negative outcomes like anxiety and depression.

E – Avoidant-distracted coping: This is adaptive in the short-term for uncontrollable problems. You just don’t let the problem bother you and focus on something more interesting. If problems are controllable, this strategy will be maladaptive over the long run.

I – Avoidant-social coping: Recourse to others is sought in the face of threat, for diversion or for assistance. This strategy is also adaptive for short-term, but over time it is more effective to develop the skills needed to address the threat as an instrumental problem.

A study of 612 adult twin pairs, (Kozak et al., 2005) determined heritability estimates of the CISS coping styles as follows: 35% for emotion-oriented coping, 34% for task-oriented coping, 33% for distraction, and 39% for social diversion, respectively. They note that these values are consistent with other studies into the heritability of coping styles and mechanisms.

1. Endler, N. S., & Parker, J. D. A. (1990). “Multidimensional Assessment of Coping: A Critical Evaluation.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58(5), 844-854.
: Avero :Avero, P., Corace, K. M., Endler, N. S., & Calvo, M. G. (2003). “Coping Styles and Threat Processing.” Personality and Individual Differences, 35, 843-861.
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