- Coping has been defined as an effort to manage external and internal demands and conflicts that tax or exceed a person's resources. This paper examines the types of coping strategies used by two groups of persistent pain sufferers: one from a family practice clinic and the other from a specialty pain clinic. The relationship between the use of different types of coping strategies and adjustment was determined. The two study groups of persistent pain sufferers differed significantly from each other on many of the indices developed to tap adjustment but did not differ on any of the Billings and Moos original categories of coping strategies. When a factor analysis of coping items was performed, 5 valid clusters relevant to the chronic pain patient samples were determined. The factor the authors entitled 'adversarialness' with the qualities of dysphoric withdrawal, avoidant behavior and catastrophizing was found to explain adjustment defined by several indices. The authors conclude that it may be important to help persistent pain sufferers to alter their attitudes and behavior that tend toward catastrophizing, avoidance and withdrawal, rather than simply concentrate on trying to teach them techniques for 'coping with stress.'