The coping hypothesis attributes behavioral difficulties that occur after acquired brain injury to coping strategies. This hypothesis posits that atypical or inappropriate repetitive behavior as a coping response to aversive or stressful conditions is exacerbated by cognitive deficits. This entry reviews the historical foundations of this hypothesis and describes how coping is defined in the literature. Finally, it discusses the empirical literature on the coping hypothesis and the implications of the coping hypothesis on communication.

Historical Foundations

Kurt Goldstein initially put forward the coping hypothesis in the 1950s as he described the secondary behavioral difficulties experienced by those with brain damage as “protective mechanisms” manifesting as “neurotic symptoms” that are employed as reactions to cognitive deficits. He outlined how those with cognitive difficulties have problems adapting ...

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