This paper summarizes the current views on coping styles as a useful concept in understanding individual adaptive capacity and
vulnerability to stress-related disease. Studies in feral populations indicate the existence of a proactive and a reactive coping style. These
coping styles seem to play a role in the population ecology of the species. Despite domestication, genetic selection and inbreeding, the same
coping styles can, to some extent, also be observed in laboratory and farm animals. Coping styles are characterized by consistent behavioral
and neuroendocrine characteristics, some of which seem to be causally linked to each other. Evidence is accumulating that the two coping
styles might explain a differential vulnerability to stress mediated disease due to the differential adaptive value of the two coping styles and
the accompanying neuroendocrine differentiation.