Measuring students’ coping with the Brief COPE: An investigation testing different factor structures across two contexts of university education

  • Fabian Pels German Sport University Cologne, Germany
  • Alina Schäfer-Pels University Hospital Ulm, Germany
  • Birte von Haaren-Mack Sport University Cologne, Germany
Keywords: coping, stress, stress management, scale development, questionnaire, instrument, measurement, higher education


Appropriate instruments are required for professionals in the field of educational psychology to measure students’ strategies to cope with stress. As the results of previous studies are inconsistent, the purpose of the present manuscript was to examine the factor structure of the situational version of the Brief COPE as an economic and flexible coping measure to be used in the domain of university education and health psychology. In a sample of 508 university students, three factor structures were compared across two contexts of university education. Results show that a hierarchical two-level factor structure fits the data best, with relatively stable coping dimensions at superordinate levels and a variety of specific strategies and acts at subordinate levels. The findings support the applicability of the situational version of the Brief COPE in research and non-clinical practice.

Received: 11 November 2021
Accepted: 16 January 2023


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Author Biographies

Fabian Pels, German Sport University Cologne, Germany

PhD, is Post-Doc at the Institute of Psychology of the German Sport University Cologne, Germany. His research focus is on coping and stress in the field of education, and on flow experiences in sports.

Alina Schäfer-Pels, University Hospital Ulm, Germany

PhD, is Post-Doc at the University Hospital Ulm, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychotherapy, Germany. Her research focus is on coping as well as on the prevention of interpersonal violence in the sport context.

Birte von Haaren-Mack, Sport University Cologne, Germany

PhD, is Post-Doc at the Institute of Sports and Sports Science, Karlsruhe Insitute of Technology, KIT. She uses the methodology of Ambulatory Assessment to investigate the effects of physical activity on psychophysiological factors in real-life settings.


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How to Cite
Pels, Fabian, Alina Schäfer-Pels, and Birte von Haaren-Mack. 2023. “Measuring students’ Coping With the Brief COPE: An Investigation Testing Different Factor Structures across Two Contexts of University Education”. Tuning Journal for Higher Education 10 (2), 31-68.