Background: Stress coping is defined as a behavioral or cognitive response of an individual to uncomfortable or difficult situations. It has been suggested that coping, like personality, is related to the pathology and course of mental disorders. Accordingly, we here used a clinical sample to investigate the relationships between coping strategies and personality traits. Methods: Subjects were 60 outpatients who were in remission from major depressive disorder and who completed the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS) and the Munich Personality Test (MPT). Results: Task-oriented coping showed a positive correlation with extraversion and frustration tolerance. Emotion-oriented coping was closely associated with neuroticism, esoteric tendencies and isolation tendency. Avoidance-oriented coping was related to extraversion. Principal component analysis indicated three corresponding factors between coping and personality; one was related to psychopathology (loading from the neuroticism, esoteric tendencies and isolation tendency scales of the MPT, and from the emotion-oriented coping scale of the CISS), a second was a social-adaptive ability component (loading from the frustration tolerance and extraversion scales of the MPT, and from the task-oriented coping and avoidance-oriented coping scales of the CISS), and a third was a passive-avoidance coping component (loaded from the emotion-oriented coping and avoidance-oriented coping scales of the CISS only). Conclusion: Some personality traits such as extraversion and frustration tolerance are significantly related to task-oriented coping, and psychopathological personality traits such as neuroticism are associated with emotional-oriented coping in major depressive disorder.

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