As I wrote in the section Coping, coping is an active, choice-laden process involving analysis, redefinition, avoidance, problem solving, expressing emotions, etc.  As opposed to being merely an automatic response or defensive reaction to something, coping is the attempt to adapt to and to accommodate life’s challenges.  Thinking of coping in terms of tasks helps reinforce its proactive nature, recognizes that coping is not a step-by-step formula, and a person can choose which of the various aspects to work on and when to work on them.  In other words, using a task-based model implies that the person coping with dying is an actor, not a re-actor, and has some power over how they adapt to the situation. A task-based model for coping with dying was proposed by Corr in 1992.  The model is based on the four primary dimensions of a person’s life: physical, psychological, social, and spiritual.

The four areas of task work and the associated basic types of tasks in coping with dying are:

Areas of Task Work
Tasks in Coping with Dying
Physical to satisfy bodily needs and to minimize physical distress, in ways that are consistent with other values
Psychological to maximize psychological security, autonomy, and richness
Social to sustain and enhance those interpersonal attachments that are significant to the person concerned, and to sustain selected interactions with social groups within society or with society itself
Spiritual to address issues of meaningfulness, connectedness, and transcendence and, in so doing, to foster hope