An international study on psychological coping during COVID-19: Towards a meaning-centered coping style

Nikolett Eisenbeck, David F. Carreno, Paul T. P. Wong, W. James Greville

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Background/Objective: This study examined the role of different psychological coping mechanisms in mental and physical health during the initial phases of the COVID-19 crisis with an emphasis on meaning-centered coping. Method: A total of 11,227 people from 30 countries across all continents participated in the study and completed measures of psychological distress (depression, stress, and anxiety), loneliness, well-being, and physical health, together with measures of problem-focused and emotion-focused coping, and a measure called the Meaning-centered Coping Scale (MCCS) that was developed in the present study. Validation analyses of the MCCS were performed in all countries, and data were assessed by multilevel modeling (MLM). Results: The MCCS showed a robust one-factor structure in 30 countries with good test-retest, concurrent and divergent validity results. MLM analyses showed mixed results regarding emotion and problem-focused coping strategies. However, the MCCS was the strongest positive predictor of physical and mental health among all coping strategies, independently of demographic characteristics and country-level variables. Conclusions: The findings suggest that the MCCS is a valid measure to assess meaning-centered coping. The results also call for policies promoting effective coping to mitigate collective suffering during the pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100256
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date14 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Distress
  • Ex post facto study
  • Meaning-centered coping scale
  • Well-being


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