The Coping Strategy Indicator

The Coping Strategy Indicator (CSI) is a 33-item scale that captures how individuals respond to stress. CSI includes 3 sub-scales: 1) Problem-Solving, 2) Seeking Social Support, and 3) Avoidance.


Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included: Female, Male

Age Range: Adults


Listed below are several possible ways of coping. We would like you to indicate to what extent you‚ yourself‚ used each of these coping methods. All of your responses will remain anonymous.

Try to think of one problem you have encountered in the last six months or so. This should be a problem that was important to you‚ and that caused you to worry (anything from the loss of a loved one to a traffic fine‚ but one that was important to you).

Please describe this problem in a few words (remember‚ your answer will be kept anonymous):

Did you remember to write down your problem? If not‚ please do so before going on.

Keeping that stressful event in mind‚ indicate to what extent you...

Problem Solving
1. Rearranged things around you so that your problem had the best chance of being resolved?
2. Brainstormed all possible solutions before deciding what to do?
3. Set some goals for yourself to deal with the situation?
4. Weighed your options very carefully?
5. Tried different ways to solve the problem until you found one that worked?
6. Thought about what needed to be done to straighten things out?
7. Turned your full attention to solving the problem?
8. Formed a plan of action in your mind?
9. Stood firm and fought for what you wanted in the situation?
10. Tried to solve the problem?
11. Tried to carefully plan a course of action rather than acting on impulse?

Seeking Social Support
12. Let your feelings out to a friend?
13. Accepted sympathy and understanding from someone?
14. Talked to people about the situation because talking about it helped you to feel better?
15. Confided your fears and worries to a friend or relative?
16. Told people about the situation because just talking about it helped you to come up with solutions?
17. Went to someone (friend or professional) in order to help you feel better?
18. Went to a friend to help you feel better about the problem?
19. Went to a friend for advice on how to change the situation?
20. Accepted sympathy and understanding from friends who had the same problem?
21. Accepted help from a friend or relative?
22. Sought reassurance from those who know you best?

23. Tried to distract yourself from the problem?
24. Did all you could to keep others from seeing how bad things really were?
25. Daydreamed about better times?
26. Spent more time than usual alone?
27. Watched television more than usual?
28. Avoided being with people in general?
29. Buried yourself in a hobby or sports activity to avoid the problem?
30. Slept more than usual?
31. Fantasized about how things could have been different?
32. Identified with characters in novels or movies?
33. Wished that people would just leave you alone?

Response Options
Not at all - 1
A little - 2
A lot - 3

Scoring Procedures

The items are averaged to create a scale for each subscale. The higher scores indicate more tendency to utilize each of the coping skills.

Original Citation

Amirkhan, J. H. (1990). A factor analytically derived measure of coping: The Coping Strategy Indicator. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59(5), 1066-1074.

Psychometric Score

Ease of Use Score

Scoring breakdown

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








Criterion (gold-standard)



Ease of Use


Scoring Clarity


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