Examples of unhealthy Coping Strategies worksheet

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What is the theory behind this worksheet?

 This worksheet is based on The Health Theory of Coping, which “recognizes coping reactions are adaptive and may initially reduce distress and categorizes these strategies as either healthy or unhealthy, depending on their likelihood of adverse consequences” (Stallman, 2020).

How will the worksheet help

This worksheet is meant to help clients identify what unhealthy coping strategies they might have adopted in order to start using better and healthier ones.

How to use the worksheet

People use coping strategies to reduce distress. Unhealthy coping strategies are used when people want to feel better when their healthy coping strategies fail to reduce distress, even though they have a risk of additional adverse consequences (Stallman et al., 2021). Here we present to you several unhealthy coping strategies that you might be practicing yourself. Use the following examples and see if you can think of situations where you used these coping strategies, in order to come up with better and healthier ones.

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Stallman, H. M. (2020). Health theory of coping. Australian Psychologist, 55(4), 295-306.


Stallman, H. M., Beaudequin, D., Hermens, D. F., & Eisenberg, D. (2021). Modelling the relationship between healthy and unhealthy coping strategies to understand overwhelming distress: A Bayesian network approach. Journal of Affective Disorders Reports, 3, 100054. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadr.2020.100054