Volume 15 (2002) Issue 1 Pages 32-40
Coping flexibility is defined as; “the management of coping strategies in correspondence to changes of controllability in stressful situations”. It is considered an important factor in decreasing stress responses. The desire for control is an individual factor that obstructs coping flexibility. The present study examined the effects of the desire for control on the adoption of coping strategies and stress responses in situations when controllability declined. Twenty-five subjects with high desire for control and 25 with low desire for control were selected by the Desirability of Control Scale. We generated controllability of aversive situations by using gradually decreasing ratios of answerable mental arithmetic tasks through the experimental sessions. Subjects with high desire for control tended to adopt a problem-focused coping strategy in spite of the decline of controllability. These subjects also showed a high depressive mood and high systolic blood pressure. These results indicated that coping persistency might cause high effort and stress.