Negative Coping Strategies

Indicator Phrasing

% of target group members reporting that local residents use highly negative coping strategies

Indicator Phrasing

INDICATOR PHRASING: % of target group members reporting that local residents use highly negative coping strategies

What is its purpose?

This indicator measures the percentage of the target group members reporting that people from their community frequently use highly negative coping strategies in response to a sudden or a prolonged crisis, such as armed violence, flash floods or drought. The rationale behind this indicator is that the more widespread the use of highly negative strategies is, the more likely it is that people will report their use.

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

Determine the indicator's value by using the methodology summarized below.


1) List a limited number (up to 5) of the most negative / harmful coping strategies that people living in the target communities might be using at the time of the current sudden or a prolonged crisis (e.g. armed violence, flash floods or drought). These can be, for example, going entire day without food, engaging children in paid labour, sending children to be taken care of by other households or engaging in transaction sex. The most negative strategies should be identified using key informant interviews and focus group discussions with the target group members. Avoid selecting less severe coping strategies if aware that they are frequently used by most households living in the area.


2) Conduct interviews with a representative sample of the target group members, asking them the following questions about each of the selected coping strategy.



Introduction: In the following questions, I will be asking you about how people who live in this community deal with [specify the crisis that affected the people]. Please respond to each question as accurately as you can. If you do not know about something that I ask about, just tell me – it is perfectly fine to say that you do not know.

Q1: Have you come across any households in this area who in the past month had to [specify the negative coping strategy]?

A1: yes / no


(ask the following question only if the previous answer is YES)


Q2: In your experience, how common was it in the past month for the local households to [specify the coping strategy]? Would you say that it was done by most households, some households or by only very few households?

A2: most households / some households / only a very few households / does not know


Repeat the same questions for all the surveyed coping strategies.


3) To determine the indicator’s value, divide the total number of respondents who even once said that any of the surveyed coping strategy was used by “most households” or “some households” by the total number of respondents (exclude those who even once said that they do not know). Multiply the result by 100 to convert it to percentages.

Disaggregate by

Disaggregate the data by gender.

Important Comments

1) The main strength as well as weakness of this indicator is that it asks about what other households were doing. The advantage of using this approach is that while the respondents might not be willing to admit that they have used a highly negative coping strategy, they might be more open to admit it about the others. The disadvantage is that they might not have a full overview of who is doing what. This indicator is therefore more suitable for areas where people know each other well and less suitable for more anonymous communities (e.g. urban areas).


2) Do not ask about less severe negative coping strategies – it is very likely that most people will say that others use them (especially if you work in poorer communities) and the indicator will not provide useful data.


3) The use of some negative coping strategies might be prone to significant seasonal differences (e.g. a low access to food and money before a harvest that improves significantly once the new harvest comes in). Consider these differences when choosing the strategies you ask about and when analysing and interpreting the data.

This guidance was prepared by Tearfund based on PIN’s IndiKit guidance on CSI indicator ©

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