The recent burgeoning of theory and research on how children cope with painful medical stressors warrants close scrutiny. The authors examine the prominent typologies of coping and the research on child adjustment and outcomes stimulated by those typologies. They focus on what researchers know and need to know about moderators (characteristics of the child and the environment that influence coping and outcome) and mediators (mechanisms linking stress, coping, and adjustment). It is argued that important advances can be achieved through efforts to (a) conceptualize and study pain and coping within a multidisciplinary framework; (b) clearly distinguish among coping responses, goals, and outcomes; and (c) replace simplistic conceptualizations with transactional and goodness-of-fit models.
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