Master's Theses


Advanced Education Programs

Degree Name

Education Specialist (Ed.S)


This research addressed two questions concerning strategies for coping with betrayal that were emphasized in recent studies by Rupp (1999) and Hickel (2000). The first question was to what extent do participants report using the coping strategies emphasized in the two previous studies when they are asked to describe their efforts to cope with betrayal in a way that avoids biasing and constraining their descriptions? The second question pertained to how the participants rate the effectiveness of the coping strategies they described. Undergraduate university students (N=57) were asked to complete the following self-report questionnaires with reference to a situation in which they felt they were betrayed: (a) Betrayal Identification Sheet, (b) Coping Description Form, (c) Unfinished Business Resolution Scale, and (d) Relationship Change Measure. Content analysis of the participants’ descriptions of how they coped with their identified betrayal evidenced that most of the strategies emphasized in the previous studies were used by some of the participants. A substantial minority reported using “intense expression of feeling,” “self-validation or understand other,” and “behavioral disengagement.” On the other hand, no participants reported using “shift in view of others” or “negative view of others.” With the exception of the latter strategies, the present findings suggested that most of the other strategies are useful in conceptualizing ways in which persons cope with betrayal. At the same time, over 75% of the participants used strategies other than those emphasized in the Rupp (1999) and Hickel (2000) studies. This finding suggests that while some of the emphasized strategies contribute to the knowledge of how persons cope with betrayal, a more comprehensive description of coping with betrayal will need to take into account other strategies. Finally, most of the strategies that were used by the present sample were regarded as either “somewhat effective,” or “neither ineffective nor effective.”


Richard P. Schellenberg

Date of Award

Summer 2001

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 2001 Carrie Cleveland


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