Daily life moment-to-moment variation in coping in people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia: state within trait psychosis
Introduction Coping is a dynamic concept, associated with variability in stress and the individual?s response. It was hypothesized that coping responses vary from moment to moment in daily life in individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia. Methods Patients diagnosed with schizophrenia (n = 25) were studied using the Experience Sampling Method to assess ongoing coping. Three subcategories of coping, social (interaction with environment), activity (behaviour to relief stress) and abuse (use of substances to deal with stress) were combined in a single coping variable expressed both dichotomously (present or not, representing frequency) and dimensionally (representing intensity). Results The frequency of coping did not vary over the day with exception of abuse coping variance: 0.48; 95% CI 0.02?10.5). In contrast, the intensity of coping did vary during the day, except for abuse coping (coping combined variance = 0.05, 95% CI 0.01?0.20; social coping variance = 0.13, 95% CI 0.04?0.39; and activity coping variance = 0.10, 95% CI 0.02?0.51). Conclusion In patients with schizophrenia, coping is stable from moment to moment, indicating a trait mechanism. However, coping varies in intensity, which refers to state properties of coping. Validity problems may arise if studies do not consider the partial variability of coping.