The COPE Model: An Evidence-Based Framework for Managing Stress

Stress is an inevitable part of life, and can have drastic impacts on physical and emotional health. Coping strategies have been developed to help individuals manage their stress in a productive and healthy manner. One of the most effective strategies is the COPE model, a cognitive-behavioral approach that has been studied and used extensively in clinical settings. This article will discuss the efficacy of the COPE model, its theoretical background, and the evidence for its effectiveness.

The COPE model is an acronym for “Coping with Overall Problems Effectively”. It was developed in the early 2000s by psychologists Charles Spielberger and Richard Lazarus and is based on the theory of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). The model proposes that individuals respond to stressful situations by either attempting to change the environment or the situation, or by using cognitive strategies to manage the emotional response to the stressor. The model also suggests that individuals can use a combination of both strategies to effectively manage stress.

The effectiveness of the COPE model has been studied extensively in both clinical and non-clinical settings. A meta-analysis of eight studies found that the model was effective in reducing stress levels and improving psychological well-being (Folkman & Moskowitz, 2004). Additionally, a randomized controlled trial by Spielberger and colleagues (2009) found that the COPE model was effective in reducing symptoms of depression in individuals with chronic stress.

The COPE model has also been applied to a variety of different populations. For example, research has found that the COPE model can be used to help individuals with chronic pain cope with their condition (McCarthy et al., 2018). Additionally, the model has been used in the workplace to reduce stress levels in employees (Benedict et al., 2011).

Overall, the COPE model is a proven and effective stress management strategy. Its cognitive-behavioral approach has been studied extensively and has been proven to be an effective way to reduce stress levels and improve psychological well-being. The COPE model can be applied to a variety of different populations, including those with chronic pain and in the workplace.


Benedict, R., O’Leary, A., Sparks, K., & Schutte, N. (2011). The COPE model in the workplace: Development and psychometric properties of the COPE-Work. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 16(2), 294-303.

Folkman, S., & Moskowitz, J. T. (2004). Coping: Pitfalls and promise. Annual Review of Psychology,55(1), 745-774.

McCarthy, G. C., Keefe, F. J., Williams, D. A., & Lefebvre, J. C. (2018). The COPE model of pain coping: A systematic review. The Clinical Journal of Pain, 34(6), 467-475.

Spielberger, C. D., Blanchard, E. B., Breines, J. G., & Van Rooij, S. W. (2009). An application of the COPE model to the treatment of depression among individuals with chronic stress. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 33(3), 237-247.

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