Ineffective Coping

Definition: Inability to form a valid appraisal of the stressors, inadequate choices of practiced responses, and/or inability to use available resources


Situational/maturational crises

  • High degree of threat
  • Inadequate opportunity to prepare for stressor; disturbance in pattern of appraisal of threat
  • Inadequate level of confidence in ability to cope/perception of control; uncertainty
  • Inadequate resources available; inadequate social support created by characteristics of relationships
  • other on the book..



  • Verbalization of inability to cope or inability to ask for help
  • Sleep disturbance; fatigue
  • Abuse of chemical agents


  • Lack of goal-directed behavior/resolution of problem, including inability to attend to and difficulty with organizing information; [lack of assertive behavior]
  • Use of forms of coping that impede adaptive behavior [including inappropriate use of defense mechanisms, verbal manipulation]
  • other on the book...

SAMPLE CLINICAL APPLICATIONS: new diagnosis of major illness, chronic conditions, major depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, social anxiety disorder, pregnancy/parenting

Client Will (Include Specific Time Frame)

  • Assess the current situation accurately.
  • Identify ineffective coping behaviors and consequences.
  • Verbalize awareness of own coping abilities.
  • Verbalize feelings congruent with behavior.
  • other on the book...


Sample NIC linkages:

  • Coping Enhancement: Assisting a patient to adapt to perceived stressors, changes, or threats that interfere with meeting life demands and roles
  • Decision-Making Support: Providing information and support for a person who is making a decision regarding healthcare.