The importance of coping style factors in the process of emotional adjustment following acquired brain injury (ABI) has been gaining increased attention. To assess ways of coping with distress accurately, clear conceptual definitions and measurement precision is vital. The purpose of this study was to investigate the psychometric properties of a well-known measure of coping, the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS), for people who have experienced an ABI; and to modify the CISS, where necessary, to create a more reliable and valid measurement tool for this clinical group.
Psychometric properties were investigated using Rasch analysis of responses from a sample of adults with ABI (n = 207). The internal consistency reliability and construct validity of the scale were examined.
All originally proposed subscales were not valid or reliable and, as such, were incapable of interval-level measurement within this sample – Task: χ2(32, N = 207) = 105.1, p < .001; Emotion: χ2(32, N = 204) = 121.9, p < .001; Avoidance: χ2(32, N = 207) = 66.7, p < .001. Three valid and reliable subscales were derived measuring emotion-, task-, and avoidance-oriented coping styles by removing items that provided the most unreliable information and exploring fit to the Rasch model.