Evaluation of the Brief Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced scale and exploration of coping among primary health care nurses during COVID-19

Elizabeth Halcomb, Ritin Fernandez, Ruth Mursa, Catherine Stephen, Kaara Calma, Christine Ashley, Susan McInnes, Jane Desborough, Sharon James, Anna Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: This study aimed to explore primary health care nurses' coping strategies and evaluate the psychometric properties of the Brief Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced (COPE) scale. Background: Primary health care nurses are experiencing significant COVID-19-related psychological impacts. Beyond understanding the impacts, there is a need to explore coping strategies. Methods: This online cross-sectional survey was completed by 359 Australian primary health care nurses between October and December 2020. Results: Factor analysis revealed seven factors (support, disengagement and venting, humour, positive reframing, acceptance, substance use and spiritual/religious beliefs) (Cronbach's alpha >.69). There was an association between age, years of nursing and years of primary health care nursing and the factors of ‘support’, ‘disengagement and venting’ and ‘positive reframing’. Years of experience were also associated with the factor ‘humour’. Urban respondents had higher scores for the ‘support’ factor. Conclusions: The Brief COPE scale is a valid and reliable tool for assessing primary health care nurses' coping. As demographic characteristics impact the coping strategies that nurses use, supports need to be tailored to optimize their impact. Implications for Nursing Management: Nurse managers need to consider the workforce demographics when designing and implementing support strategies. The Brief COPE can identify current coping strategies and inform interventions to build coping capacity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2597-2608
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Nursing Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • community
  • coping
  • mental health
  • nursing workforce
  • pandemic
  • primary health care

Cite this