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Factor Structure of the Brief COPE in People With Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Snell, Deborah L. MSc; Siegert, Richard J. PhD; Hay-Smith, E. Jean C. PhD; Surgenor, Lois J. PhD

The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation: November/December 2011 - Volume 26 - Issue 6 - p 468–477
doi: 10.1097/HTR.0b013e3181fc5e1e
Original Articles

Objective: To investigate the factor structure and internal consistency of the Brief COPE, adapted for use with adults with mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI).

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting: Hospital based emergency department and concussion clinic.

Participants: A total of 147 adults meeting diagnostic criteria for MTBI.

Main Measure: Brief COPE.

Analyses: The previously reported 9-factor structure of the Brief COPE was tested by using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and then exploratory factor analysis (EFA). The Cronbach α was computed for both the original subscales and those derived from EFA.

Results: The CFA provided a less than satisfactory fit for the 9-factor model. While the EFA solution was very similar to that of the original scale, the reliability of some derived subscales was low. Further analyses identified improved internal consistency with a 3-factor model reflecting approach, avoidance, and help-seeking coping styles.

Conclusions: The Brief COPE has satisfactory psychometric properties for use in MTBI but may be more reliably and meaningfully interpreted using 3 dimensions/subscales rather than 9.

Rehabilitation Teaching and Research Unit, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand (Ms Snell and Dr Hay-Smith); King's College London, Department of Palliative Care, Policy and Rehabilitation, Cicely Saunders Institute, London, United Kingdom (Dr Siegert); and Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand (Dr Surgenor).

Corresponding Author: Deborah L. Snell, MSc, Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service, Burwood Hospital, Private Bag 4708, Christchurch, New Zealand (

The authors are grateful to the 2 anonymous reviewers and Editor Dr Bruce Caplan, whose comments and feedback substantially improved this article.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.