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Psychosom Med. 1989 Mar-Apr;51(2):209-17.

Psychological characteristics of individuals high and low in their ability to cope with tinnitus.

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  • 1Center for Stress and Anxiety Disorders, State University of New York, Albany 12203.


Seventy-seven individuals with tinnitus were assessed with a variety of standardized psychological tests and scales assessing subjective loudness, annoyance, and ability to cope with the tinnitus. Significant correlations were found between coping ability and psychological test scores. Based on their responses on the coping scale, subjects were classified as "high copers" (N = 45) or "low copers" (N = 32). For comparison purposes, the two tinnitus groups were also compared to a group of chronic pain (headache) patients (N = 34) and to a group of nonheadache/non-tinnitus controls (N = 65). Results revealed the low coping tinnitus subjects to be significantly more psychologically distressed than the high copers. Of interest, the low copers were very similar in their psychological profiles to the chronic pain patients, while the high copers were similar to the non-patient control subjects. Implications of these results are discussed.

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