The validity of the Cognitive Coping Strategy Inventory (CCSI; Butler et al., 1989) was tested in a prospective fashion. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of three conditions. Some were "matched" to a strategy for which they received a high CCSI score, some were "mismatched" to a strategy for which they received a low CCSI score, and some were given a choice of strategies. Those subjects using a matched strategy obtained better threshold and tolerance times on the cold pressor than subjects who used a mismatched strategy. Despite clear differences in exposure to the cold pressor these conditions did not differ from each other in self-reported levels of pain. It was concluded that the CCSI appears to be a valid and useful tool for selecting a coping strategy to help particular individuals manage acute pain. Though the CCSI is relatively easy to administer and score, the comparative costs and benefits of using it must be weighed against the somewhat more efficient approach of simply offering the subject a choice of treatments. Subjects given a choice of strategies performed as well as subjects matched to a strategy on the basis of CCSI scores.
- individual differences