Measuring Coping at a University Using a Rasch Model
Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
School of Education
Coping with academic difficulties at a university was based on six aspects: Motivation and Planning, Friends and Planning, Studying and Planning, Emotions, Spiritual Help and Coping by Doing Nothing. Stem-items for each aspect were conceptually ordered by difficulty. Each of the stem-items was answered from three perspectives, Good Coping Strategies, Actual Coping Strategies, and Stress Reduction Strategies. The three response categories were No, not on any occasion this semester; Yes, on 1 to 3 occasions this semester, and Yes, on 4 or more occasions this semester. The convenience sample was 337 students studying education at an Australian university and data were analysed with a Rasch measurement model. A scale was created in which the difficulties of the items were ordered from easy to hard and the student measures of Coping were ordered from low to high. Coping by Doing Nothing and Using Spiritual Help stem-items didn't fit the measurement model and were deleted. This left an effective item sample of 21 (7 stem-items times 3). The proportion of observed student variance considered true was 0.88. The results supported the theory behind the construct of Coping as using Motivation and Planning, Friends and Planning, Studying and Planning, and Emotions, in which Expected Good Coping Strategies are easier than Actual Coping Strategies which, in turn, are easier than Stress Reducing Coping Strategies.