This paper provides a psychological analysis of The Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS), which is a worldwide recognized measure of stress coping methods that was created by Norman Endler and James Parker in 1990. General information regarding a brief history of the test, author(s), publisher and date(s) of publication, cost, availability, and assumptions as they relate to the CISS are presented. A thorough description of the CISS is provided describing the assessment’s content, purpose, structure, scoring, and administration. The technical evaluation offers information regarding standardization/normative sample, as well as reliability and validity of the test. The practical evaluation examines the quality of the test materials and the ease of administration, scoring, and interpretation. A summary and critique are presented to provide both strengths, weaknesses, and recommendations for improvement and further research.
Test Critique: The Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS)
The Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS) is a worldwide recognized objective measure of stress coping methods that was created by Norman Endler and James Parker, and is available from Multi-Health Systems Coping techniques play a significant role in physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Coping practices are especially important when a person is faced with unpleasant or stressful life situations. Key features of the CISS are that the assessment helps to establish the preferred coping style of an individual, thus contributing to a comprehensive awareness of the connection between an individual’s coping style and personality. This understanding of this relationship offers valuable results for intervention and treatment planning. The CISS measurement was acquired theoretically and scientifically. A motivating factor of the development of CISS was the interaction model of anxiety, stress, and coping and Endler and Parker (1999) suggest that coping responses must be explored within both psychological and social conditions, rather than in isolation (Elder & Parker, 1999). The CISS was developed for three reasons such as lack of agreement between the many researchers in the area of coping, and numerous scales had psychometric weakness. There was also the need for more reliability and validity (“Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations,” n.d.).
The normative data of the CISS includes a general population of both adolescent and adult versions. The adolescent version is appropriate for ages 13-18 and adult ages 18 and above. Both are acceptable to be utilized in regular and applied settings with a 8th grade reading level or above. The CISS is a self-administered assessment that was designed to measure three critical areas of coping styles, including Emotion, Task, and Avoidance-Oriented Coping. Two sub-scales under the Avoidance-Oriented Coping include Distraction and Social Diversion. The three versions of the CISS include Adolescent, Adult, and Situation-Specific Coping. There are 48 items on the Adolescent and Adult versions, and 21 items on the Situation-Specific version. The qualification level is B. The pricing kits are relatively inexpensive and cost $97.00 for adolescents and $158.00 for adults. The CISS forms have twenty-five forms per pack and are priced at $60.00 for adolescent, adult and SSC forms. There are complementary tools, and a CISS manual is also available. (“CISS,” n.d.).
A combined sample totaling 2,898 of female and males of a population of adults, psychiatric patients, and early and late adolescents were used. The CISS is also beneficial in the assessment of appropriate placement for patients who suffer from mental and medical issues, as well as in many areas and facilities, such as counseling and wellness programs and correctional centers (“Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations,” n.d.).
The Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS) The CISS scales were acquired from both theoretical and empirical bases. Studies on the instrument began in 1986 and was initially referred to as the Multidimensional Coping Inventory (CSI). A motivating factor of the development of CISS was the interaction model of anxiety, stress, and coping and Endler and Parker suggest that coping responses must be explored within both psychological and social conditions, rather than in isolation (Elder, 1988, 1993, 1997). The framework represented as an integration of an intraindividual manner to coping, in which a person’s coping techniques are analyzed across various types of circumstances. It also presented an integration of an intraindividual manner, to which the scores of the same person are examined over multiple occasions constituting a reliable score. This CISS was developed for three reasons such as lack of agreement between the many researchers in the area of coping, and numerous scales had psychometric weakness. There was also the need for more reliability and validity (Endler & Parker, 1990).
The Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS) is a self-administered instrument that is available for both adolescent and adults in paper and pencil form. There are 48 items on the Adolescent and Adult versions, and 21 items on the Situation-Specific version. The CISS contains both adolescent and adult forms. Both forms use MHS QuikScoreTM forms. The test is self-administered with a hand-scored format and concentrates on a particular event or situation. Each form takes an estimated time of 10 minutes to complete. The CISS-SSC is a 21-item measure for adults. It examines a designated event, such as a change in a social situation, change in a relationship, or personal conflict (“CISS,” n.d.). The adolescent version is appropriate for ages 13-18. The adult version is for ages 18 and above. Both editions are suitable for use with both regular and clinical populations with a reading level of 8th grade or above. (Endler & Parker, 1999).
Undheim and Sund (2017) used a modified version of the CISS to measure three coping scales, including emotional, task, and avoidance coping. Various areas of stressors and life events were correlated with the coping styles, and varied at different points of time according to gender. Girls showed a strong association to school stressors and boys showed a stronger association to family and miscellaneous stressors, and smaller daily stressors showed no significance (Undheim & Sund, 2017).
The CISS manual is also available and in short outlines a computer-administered structure. The manual contains seven chapters, which includes a development of the instrument, general description of the test instrument, computer-administration, instructions for scoring, interpretations and use of material, normative sample information, evidence of reliability and validity, and various case studies regarding clinical situations (Endler & Parker, 1990).
The Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS) was formulated to enable professionals to examine three critical coping styles in their clients, including Emotion, Task, and Avoidance-Oriented Coping. Task encompasses purposeful behaviors intended for cognitive reconstruction, problem-solving, and planning of the alteration of circumstances. Emotion involves self-oriented emotional responses geared designed to lower stress, which may not be beneficial each time and may have consequences of increasing stress levels. Examples include fantasizing, self-blame, and self-absorption. Endler, Parker, & Butcher (2003) investigated the association between coping styles and psychopathy with the MMPI-2 scales and CISS. The authors examined a sample of 167 high functioning men. Results revealed a strong link between emotion-oriented coping methods and different measures of psychopathology. However, results of Task-oriented coping methods were not connected (Endler, Parker, & Butcher, 2003).
In another study, Cohan, Jang, and Stein (2006) used confirmatory factor analysis to confirm the four-factor format for the 21-item CISS short form. The authors examined a sample of 390 adults in the community and 1.628 undergraduates. In the adult community subjects, the emotional scale was positively related to neuroticism and negatively connected to extraversion and agreeableness. The task-oriented scale was negatively associated with neuroticism and positively associated with extroversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. The results of the undergraduate subjects showed a negative correlation between the task-oriented scale and depression and anxiety and a positive relationship with the emotional scale. The authors suggest that the emotional and task-oriented scales are promising as assessments of two types of responses to typical stressors (Cohan, Jang, & Stein, 2006).
Avoidance encompasses actions and changes in thinking intended for attempting to stay clear of stressors. Distraction refers to the attempt to do unrelated activities. Finally, Social Diversion refers to the effort of distracting oneself by spending time doing other things. These methods are assessed with 16 items on the form. There are two sub-scales of the Avoidance-Oriented Coping, which include Distraction and Social Diversion. These questions are assessed with eight items on Distraction and five items on Social Diversion. For every item on the document, the client answers using a 5-point frequency scale. The degree measures at 1 being not at all and five being very much. The totals are calculated using a scoring grid, which is found below the answer area on the form. On the opposite side of the scoring grid contains the profile sheet. This form offers a standard score of T with a mean of 50, a standard variation of 10, and converted percentage scores. On the adult version, distinct norms are offered for females and males within two classifications of the general population and mental (psychiatric) patients. On the adolescent version, separate norms are offered for individuals 13 to 15 years of age and 16 to 18 years of age. Different norms for college students are also provided in the manual (Endler & Parker, 1999).
There is an adolescent and adult version of the CISS. Both versions are appropriate for use with normal and clinical populations who have a reading level of 8th grade or higher. A combined sample of male and female were used totaling 2,898. The sample included adults, psychiatric inpatients, early and late adolescents (“CISS,” n.d.). The normative samples were composed of 537 adults of which 288 were females, and 249 were males. There were 1,242 undergraduate students of which 777 were females, and 471 were males. There were 302 psychiatric patients of which 138 were females, and 164 were males. There were 313 early adolescents between the ages of 13 to 15 years old, of which 161 were females, and 152 were males. There were 504 late adolescents between the ages of 16 to 18 years old, of which 234 were females, and 270 were males. All samples were North Americans who spoke English. There is no information offered regarding age, ethnicity, race in the manual, thus making it difficult to establish the suitability and effectiveness of material (Endler & Parker, 1999). Internal-consistency reliability, test-retest reliability, and item-remainder correlation are presented. Two varieties of reliability estimates were given in the manual. First, Internal consistency was measured with Cronbach’s alpha. Second, test-retest reliability was measured over a six-week period. Alpha Coefficients were extremely adequate across the normative groups. Alphas were still reliable although they were somewhat less in the psychometric sample than the normal representative. Test-retest showed moderate to high reliabilities for both female and male undergraduates. Task and emotion scales demonstrated the highest level of reliabilities that measured in the range above equal to .68 for both female and males. The Avoidance scale, as well as the two subscales including Distraction and Social Diversion, showed moderate reliabilities and measured at scores ranging from .51 to .60 (“Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations,” n.d.).
Factor analyses demonstrate the multidimensionality of the CISS. The construct validity of the CISS scales was supported by more factor analytic work, and data illustrating the relationship between the CISS and other measures. Construct validity data are presented for both adult and adolescent versions. The Undergraduate sample measured with modest low non-meaningful correlations. There were correlations found among the M-C and CISS scales of Task Avoidance, Distraction, and Social Diversion with female and male undergraduates (“Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations,” n.d.).
WILCZEK-RU?YCZKA and JAB?EKA (2013) investigated the reliability and validity of the Japanese CISS 2nd edition. The authors examined a sample of 1.286 healthy Japanese people. The factor analysis produced task, emotion, and avoidance-oriented coping scales. The avoidance-oriented scale included two subscales of distraction and Social diversion similar to the original edition of the CISS. Results demonstrated the Japanese version of the CISS is a beneficial instrument for assessing the coping styles among samples of Japanese people (WILCZEK-RU?YCZKA & JAB?EKA, 2013).
Another study by Boysan (2012) examined a non-clinical Turkish sample to verify if the CISS is a useful psychometric instrument with positive psychometric properties. The concluding results revealed that the Confirmatory factor analysis solution duplicated the original three-factor construct of the CISS in the Turkish sample used in the study (Boysan, 2012).
The Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS) is appropriate for individuals who possess a B-level qualification. The According to Drummond, Sheperis, and Jones (2016), a B-level qualification indicates that a person or practitioner must possess a graduate degree, have licensure, or have completed specialized training or coursework for a specific area (Drummond, Sheperis, & Jones, 2016). The CISS can be administered, scored, and interpreted with ease by practitioners and B-level trained professionals (“CISS,” n.d.).
The Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS) scales was originated from both theoretical and empirical constructs, and have been utilized in relevant settings and various research areas, thus allowing the interpretation of assessments results and associating scores to other personality and health variables. The multidimensional method to the analysis of coping provides significant accuracy in the prediction of coping techniques, thus providing the understanding of distinctive correlations among coping styles and variables of personality. The CISS is beneficial in aiding in deciding through assessment where to place individual patients and inmates. The CISS was developed for three reasons such as lack of agreement between the many researchers in the area of coping, and numerous scales had psychometric weakness. There was also the need for more reliability and validity (“CISS,” n.d.).
The format of the CISS is offered in the MHS QuikScoreTM form. The design is a paper and pencil format, which allows ease in recording, scoring, and profiling answers. Moreover, responses are electronically transported and no templates are necessary. There is a computer based link for computer-based and web-enabled assessments that is incorporated into the MHS Professional Tool Suite that practitioners can use (“Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations,” n.d.).
Summary Evaluation and Critique
The Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS) is an overall well-formulated assessment instrument, and the development demonstrated strong test structure practices and is well-supported in several theories. The CISS development demonstrated strong test structure practices and is well-supported in several theories. Overall, the CISS has shown to be reasonably reliable and valid. Internal consistency between the subscales shows good reliability and test-retest reliability measures adequate. Due to the reasonable amount of construct validation, the CISS appears to measure what it intends to measure regarding coping styles. The manual seems relatively easy to read and provides an abundant amount of essential and meaningful material, including, ten studies of scientific validation (“Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations,” n.d.).
Although the CISS appears to be overall a sound instrument, the authors do point out limitations with the test. One weakness in the test involves the lack of information in the characteristics of the normative samples. More information would be beneficial so that practitioners can assess the appropriateness of the measures with their samples, specifically for a cultural subgroup. A second weakness of the instrument involves the implications of the low non-significant scores of the Avoidance scales and subscales of female and male undergraduates. However, despite the few shortcomings, the overall results of the CISS exhibit reasonably adequate and sound validity and reliability and a valuable instrument for test users and practitioners for the assessment of their clients. Finally, the CISS assists in determining the preferred coping style of a client, thus allowing the results to be beneficial for intervention and treatment planning (“Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations,” n.d.).
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