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A biosystemic model of coping in schizophrenia

Monica Grace Rivera Mindt, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The behavioral effects of environmental stress on individuals with schizophrenia have been well documented in the literature. Such individuals are especially vulnerable to difficulties related to stress and possess limited coping skills to deal with psychosocial stressors. However, relatively little is known regarding the neuropsychological and neuroendocrinological substrates of coping in schizophrenia, and how they relate to the behavioral effects of stress within this population. The present study was designed to investigate the neuroendocrinological, neuropsychological, attributional, and behavioral mechanisms of coping within schizophrenia, and discuss implications for treatment. Study participants included a total of thirty-five individuals with the diagnosis of a schizophrenia-spectrum disorder as defined by the DSM-IV, and confirmed by a trained psychiatrist and licensed clinical psychologist. The results of this investigation revealed that Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis dysregulation, (in the form of hypocortisolemia), neuropsychological impairments in executive functioning, and verbal learning and memory; and behavioral functioning all significantly predict coping attributions in schizophrenia. However, the relationship with HPA axis dysregulation and coping was marginal, while robust relationships were observed in the domains of neuropsychological and behavioral functioning with coping attributions. The results of this study generally support a priori hypotheses regarding the multi-systemic nature of coping in schizophrenia. With regard to treatment, it would be expected that pharmacological treatments (i.e., antipsychotics and cortisol regulating drugs) and psychosocial treatments (i.e., stress management and coping skills training) might all serve as useful strategies targeting HPA axis and behavioral dysregulation. Future empirical investigation must be undertaken in order to further elucidate these relationships with a larger sample, as well as systematically examine possible treatments to improve coping skills for stress within this population. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Psychobiology|Psychology, Clinical|Psychology, Cognitive

Recommended Citation

Rivera Mindt, Monica Grace, "A biosystemic model of coping in schizophrenia" (2000). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI9977017.