Most people take the process of coping for granted as they go about their daily activities. In many ways, coping is like breathing, an automatic process requiring no apparent effort. However, when people face truly threatening events--what psychologists call stressors--they become acutely aware of the coping process and respond by consciously applying their day-to-day coping skills. Coping is a fundamental psychological process, and people's skills are commensurately sophisticated. This volume builds on people's strengths and emphasizes their role as positive copers.
In June 1974, I was staying with my Aunt and Uncle during my summer vacation. They
lived in northern Israel, in the sleepy little town of Naharya. At the age of 16, it was the
farthest away from home that I could go. On the fifth night of my visit, at around
2:00 a.m., we were violently awakened by a barrage of bullets and the deafening blasts
of hand grenades. We were all terribly frightened and felt totally helpless. The
onslaught lasted for about 30 minutes, and then suddenly everything fell ominously
silent. At dawn, we learned how fortunate we had been: The attack on the...