Primary and secondary control among children undergoing medical procedures: Adjustment as a function of coping style

John R. Weisz, Mary Ann McCabe, Marie D. Dennig
1994 Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology  
The literature suggests that optimal adjustment to relatively uncontrollable stressors may require adjusting oneself to the stressors rather than trying to alter them. This possibility was explored, for low-controllability stressors (e.g., painful medical procedures) associated with leukemia. Children's reports of coping strategies and goals were classified as primary control coping (attempts to alter objective conditions), secondary control coping (attempts to adjust oneself to objective
more » ... to objective conditions), or relinquished control (no attempt to cope). Secondary control coping was positively associated with (a) general behavioral adjustment assessed by the Child Behavior Checklist and (b) illnessspecific adjustment assessed by children's own distress ratings and by behavioral observations during painful procedures. All significant group differences showed better adjustment among secondary control children than among the primary or relinquished groups.
doi:10.1037/0022-006x.62.2.324 fatcat:5ztnyleexndr3aykve6gphrimi