Utilize Problem-Focused Coping Over Avoidant Coping


Research suggests that higher levels of problem-focused coping may buffer the effects of perceived racial discrimination on depressive symptoms, and higher levels of avoidant coping may worsen the effects(West, Donovan & Roemer, 2010).


Problem-focused coping strategies include:


  • Planning (“I make a plan of action”)

  • Active coping (“ I concentrate my efforts on doing something about it”)

  • Use of instrumental social support (“I try to get advice from someone about what to do”)

  • Suppression of competing activities (“I focus on dealing with this problem, and if necessary let other things slide a little”)


Avoidant coping strategies include:


  • Denial (“I refuse to believe that it has happened”)

  • Mental disengagement (“I daydream about things other than this”)

  • Behavioral disengagement (“I give up the attempt to get what I want”)


Question: Can you think of a specific situation where you can use problem-focused coping strategies?



West, L. M., Donovan, R. A., & Roemer, L. (2010). Coping With Racism: What Works and Doesn't Work for Black Women? Journal of Black Psychology, 36(3), 331-349.