Original Article| Volume 22, ISSUE 1, P112-118, January 2023

Ways of coping and survival in Cystic Fibrosis: a 20-year longitudinal study

Published:April 20, 2022DOI:


      • Optimistic coping is an independent predictor of survival in CF.
      • Illustrative survival curves suggest that women with low optimistic coping have the poorest outcomes.
      • Women employed more distraction coping than men, but this had no bearing on survival.
      • Ways of coping are modifiable, providing a target for clinical intervention.


      Background: The relationship between ways of coping and health outcomes has been a focus of interest for decades. There is increasing recognition that positive psychological functioning can influence health outcomes beneficially. This work investigated the role of coping in predicting survival in CF.
      Methods: A longitudinal observational cohort study with a 20-year follow-up period was undertaken. At entry to the study, demographic and clinical variables were recorded, and ways of coping were assessed using the Cystic Fibrosis Coping Scale which measures four distinct ways of coping: optimism, hopefulness, distraction and avoidance. Survival outcome was measured as time in days from the date of recruitment to exit from the study, where exit was either death, loss to follow-up or the end of the follow-up period.
      Results: Survival time was modelled using Cox's proportional hazards model. At baseline, 116 people with CF were recruited. By the census date, 54 people had died (14 men had died during 248,565 person-days of observation and 40 women had died during 358,372 person-days of observation). Optimism was the only way of coping that showed any beneficial effect on survival (RR=0.984, p=0.040) after adjustments for age, gender, ppFEV1 and the three other coping variables measured at baseline.
      Conclusion: This work suggests that optimistic coping serves as a prognostic measure of survival in CF beyond key clinical and demographic variables. Ways of coping are modifiable, providing a target for clinical intervention; to improve quality of life and clinical outcomes and potentially increase longevity.


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