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Addiction. 1996 Aug;91(8):1101-13.

The role of coping in relapse crisis outcome: a prospective study of treated alcoholics.

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  • 1Correctional Service Canada, Collins Bay Institution, Psychology Department, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.


This study investigates the influence of coping on the outcome of a relapse crisis for a sample of 125 treated alcoholics during the first 12 weeks following treatment completion. Both number and type of coping responses were examined. Results indicated that survival of a relapse crisis was most strongly related to the number of coping strategies used. Termination of a drinking episode was also related to number of coping responses. In addition, the type of coping strategy influenced survival, with the exclusive use of active coping strategies significantly associated with abstinence outcome compared with the exclusive use of avoidant strategies. Combining active and avoidant strategies appeared to be most effective for terminating a drinking episode. Results are discussed in the context of the cognitive-behavioral model of relapse, the general literature on coping behavior and the findings of other relapse studies.

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