British Journal of Health Psychology

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Volume 1 Issue 4 (November 1996), Pages 287-381

Coping and psychopathology in surgery patients: A comparison of accident patients with other surgery patients (pages 357-364)

Within one week of surgery, traffic accident patients were compared with a variety of other surgery patients on measures of anxiety, depression, general psychological health and coping strategies. Even when differences in age and gender between groups were controlled for, patients who had just undergone surgery following traffic accidents reported significantly greater use of emotion‐focused coping strategies than all other groups except a gynaecological group, and significantly less use of task‐oriented and avoidance coping strategies than all other groups except general surgery. There were no significant differences in levels of depression or anxiety between the accident group and the other main surgery groups. It is argued that the use of emotion‐focused coping in accident patients represents either a direct vulnerability factor for accidents, or an indicator of underlying psychopathology which in turn may represent a primary vulnerability factor.

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