The Relationship Of Coping Style And Psychogenic Attitude Toward Illness To Psychosocial Adjustment In Patients With Epilepsy

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


People with epilepsy have problems adjusting to the disorder. Historically, researchers have tried to isolate unique behaviors, emotions, and psychopathology resulting from organic changes; the focus has been on the interaction between personality and physiology. The focus of the present research was expanded to include an emphasis on the interaction with the social environment. Coping styles and psychogenic attitudes toward illness were assessed as they related to psychosocial adjustment among epileptics. Sixty-nine epileptic outpatients completed the Millon Behavioral Health Inventory (MBHI) and the Washington Psychosocial Seizure Inventory (WPSI) and two experimenters assessed their psychosocial adjustment via behavioral ratings. The major findings were as follows: Inhibited coping was the best predictor of adjustment; low Inhibited coping with high Introversive coping were related to good emotional and overall adjustment, and low Inhibited coping with high Cooperative coping were related to good interpersonal adjustment. Low Sensitive coping was related to behaviors associated with adaptive functioning. All psychogenic attitudes (Premorbid Pessimism, Future Despair, Social Alienation, Somatic Anxiety) were inversely related to measures of good psychosocial adjustment. Three coping style configurations were analyzed in terms of emotional, interpersonal, behavioral, and overall psychosocial adjustment. The Anxious and Moody configuration (elevated Inhibited, Sensitive coping) group showed significantly worse scores on each of the measures. However, the Confident and Narcissistic configuration (elevated Sociable, Confident coping) group failed to differ from the Passive-Conforming configuration (elevated Introversive, Cooperative, Respectful coping) group. There were distinguishing features between patients showing good adjustment and those that did not, the most salient being a tendency away from an active-detached style. The findings were discussed with regard to theoretical assumptions about coping styles and implications for counseling individuals with epilepsy.


Psychology, Clinical

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