Please take our brief survey

Blueprints Programs = Positive Youth Development

Return to Search Results

Promising Program Seal

Coping Power

Blueprints Program Rating: Promising

A 16-month preventive group intervention for at-risk children in late elementary to early middle school years that includes a parent and child focus to prevent substance abuse and reduce aggressive attitudes and behaviors and, in a universal version of the program, among all school children.

Program Outcomes

  • Academic Performance
  • Alcohol
  • Antisocial-aggressive Behavior
  • Delinquency and Criminal Behavior
  • Illicit Drug Use

Program Type

  • Alcohol Prevention and Treatment
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Training
  • Drug Prevention/Treatment
  • Parent Training
  • School - Individual Strategies
  • Skills Training

Program Setting

  • School

Continuum of Intervention

  • Universal Prevention (Entire Population)
  • Selective Prevention (Elevated Risk)


  • Late Childhood (5-11) - K/Elementary


  • Male and Female


  • All Race/Ethnicity


  • Blueprints: Promising
  • Crime Solutions: Promising
  • OJJDP Model Programs: Promising
  • What Works Clearinghouse: Meets Standards Without Reservations - Positive Effect

Program Information Contact

Coping Power Program
The University of Alabama
Box 870348
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0348
Phone: (205) 348-3535
Fax: (205) 348-3526

Program Developer/Owner

  • John E. Lochman, Ph.D.
  • University of Alabama

Brief Description of the Program

Coping Power for parents and their at-risk children consists of two components (Parent Focus and Child Focus) designed to impact four variables that have been identified as predicting substance abuse (lack of social competence, poor self-regulation and self-control, poor bonding with school, and poor caregiver involvement with child). The program's Child component emphasizes problem-solving and conflict management techniques, coping mechanisms, positive social supports, and social skill development. The Parent component teaches parents skills to manage stress, identify disruptive child behaviors, effectively discipline and reward their children, establish effective communication structures, and manage child behavior outside the home. Coping Power is a 16-month program delivered during the 5th and 6th grade school years. Children attend 22 group sessions in 5th grade and 12 group sessions in 6th grade. Groups are led by a school-family program specialist and a guidance counselor. Children also receive half hour individual sessions once every two months. Parents attend 11 group sessions during their children's 5th grade year and 5 sessions during the 6th grade year.

There is also a universal intervention, known as Coping with Middle School Transitions. This program consists of two components: Parent Meetings and Teacher Inservice Meetings. Three parent meetings are held during 5th grade and one parent meeting is held in 6th grade. Teachers participate in five 2-hour meetings during the 5th grade year. These two components are designed to promote home-school involvement, address parents' upcoming concerns about the transition to middle school, and address the four identified predictors of substance use.

A stand-alone universal version adapts the program for all elementary-school children. It uses 24 sessions, one each week, based on the child component of the program but with some changes in activities to encourage participation of all children in the classroom. A certified Coping Power Program psychologist and teacher deliver the intervention. The program does not include the parent component and makes changes to fit the whole classroom but otherwise is said to be essentially the same as the original.

See: Full Description


  • Significant improvements in teacher-rated school behavior and significant reductions in parent-rated proactive aggressive behavior for Coping Power students alone, apart from the embedded universal intervention, in comparison to controls.
  • Significantly greater increases in teacher-rated aggressive behavior and decreases in aggression towards peers and substance use for Combined Universal-Intervention students, compared to controls.
  • Significantly greater improvement of the intervention group over a three-year follow-up period on teacher-rated aggression and teacher-rated academics.
  • Significant reductions in delinquency at follow-up and in substance use of older children and moderate risk children.
  • Significant mediating effects in support of the theoretical model for delinquency and school behavior; marginally significant mediating effects for substance use.
  • Lower rates of assaultive behaviors and externalizing behavior problems (when counselors received training feedback).
  • Significant improvements two years post-intervention in language arts grades of both regular students and students receiving special education services.
  • Significant improvements in language arts and mathematics grades under the universal prevention program at 12-month follow-up.
  • Significant improvements among a universal sample of third- and fourth-grade students at posttest for conduct problems.

Significant Program Effects on Risk and Protective Factors:

  • Significant improvements in perceived social competence and teacher-rated social skills among intervention students.
  • Significant improvements in children's expectations about the negative consequences of aggression and in teacher ratings of children's social behavior and study skills (when counselors received training feedback).
  • Significant improvements at three-year follow-up on expectations of benefits from aggression and parental support.
  • Significant improvements among a universal sample of first- and second-grade students at posttest for prosocial behavior, hyperactivity, and overall stress (or total problems).
  • Significant improvements among a universal sample of third- and fourth-grade students at posttest for hyperactivity, emotional symptoms, and overall stress (or total problems).

Race/Ethnicity/Gender Details

The program targets all youth, though one evaluation found two significant ethnic group differences. In Lochman and Wells (2004), significant interaction effects showed that the program did more to reduce substance use and improve school behavior among white subjects. However, program effects did not differ by ethnic status in other studies or for other outcomes.

Risk and Protective Factors

Risk Factors
  • Individual: Early initiation of antisocial behavior, Favorable attitudes towards antisocial behavior, Favorable attitudes towards drug use, Hyperactivity*, Rebelliousness, Stress*
  • Peer: Interaction with antisocial peers, Peer substance use
  • Family: Poor family management
  • School: Low school commitment and attachment, Poor academic performance*
Protective Factors
  • Individual: Clear standards for behavior*, Coping Skills, Problem solving skills, Prosocial behavior*, Prosocial involvement, Refusal skills, Skills for social interaction*
  • Peer: Interaction with prosocial peers
  • Family: Opportunities for prosocial involvement with parents, Rewards for prosocial involvement with parents

*Risk/Protective Factor was significantly impacted by the program.

See also: Coping Power Logic Model (PDF)

Training and Technical Assistance

Training in the Coping Power Program is conducted in a workshop format and is generally completed over a 2 or 3 day period. Training includes hands-on opportunities for participants to learn and practice intervention techniques, as well as presentations, discussions, and videotape modeling on the intervention. The workshops also cover the developmental model upon which Coping Power is based and a review of empirical evidence supporting the program. Workshops are offered twice per year on the University of Alabama campus. The program will also arrange on-site trainings for interested agencies and school systems on an individual basis. Ongoing consultation and technical assistance can be arranged as needed. For more information about training procedures and costs, click on the link to a brief on-line survey from the Steps to Training page. You must currently have an account with the Coping Power Program to complete the survey. If you are a member, please make sure you are logged in before trying to complete the survey. Upon receipt of your completed survey, a member of the Coping Power staff will contact you.

Brief Evaluation Methodology

Coping Power has been evaluated in five studies. The first study (Lochman & Wells 2002b; Lochman & Wells 2003; Lochman et al. 2013) examined the effects of Coping Power in comparison to, and in combination with, a universal intervention program (Coping with Middle School Transitions). It randomized 245 students in 17 schools to a universal intervention or universal control condition and high-risk children were further randomized in these groups to indicated intervention or indicated control groups. Assessments measuring substance use, self-regulation, social competence, school bonding, and parenting practices were implemented at baseline, midway, posttest, one-year post-intervention follow-up, and three-year post-intervention follow-up.

The second study (Lochman & Wells 2004), with a one-year post-intervention follow-up, compared the effects of the Coping Power program to that of the Child Component alone. It randomized 183 boys in 11 schools, scoring in the top 22% on aggression ratings, to a control group, the child intervention, or the child-parent intervention. There were 33 child sessions and 16 parent sessions and assessments measuring delinquency, substance use, and school behavior were completed at baseline, posttest, and one-year post-intervention follow-up.

A third study (Lochman et al. 2009; Lochman et al. 2012) randomized counselors in 57 schools to 1 of 3 conditions: Coping Power Training Plus Feedback, Coping Power Basic Training, or comparison condition. At-risk children were screened in the 3rd grade by teachers. Based on ratings, the 30% most aggressive children (n=531) across all classes were selected for inclusion in the study. Intervention was in grades 4 and 5, with pre-assessments prior to intervention and a post assessment in the summer after fifth grade, two years after the baseline assessment. A follow-up assessment occurred at the end of seventh grade, two years after completion of the program.

A fourth study (Muratori et al. 2015; Muratori et al. 2016) examined a universal version of the program using first- and second-grade students in two schools in Italy. The study randomized nine classrooms (184 students) into intervention and control conditions and assessed measures of emotional, behavioral, and peer problems at pretest, posttest, and at 12-month follow-up.

A fifth study (Muratori et al. 2017) examined a universal version of the program using third- and fourth-grade students in 6 schools in Italy. The study randomized 40 classrooms (901 students) into conditions (20 classrooms and 488 students in treatment) and assessed measures of conduct problems, hyperactivity, emotional symptoms, and overall stress. A pretest and a posttest were conducted in September 2014 and May 2015, respectively.

Peer Implementation Sites

Chalon Stewart, Special Education TeacherBessemer City Middle School
100 High School Drive
Bessemer, AL 35020

(205) 432-3600

Dr. Pietro Muratori, Psychologist
IRCCS Stella Maris Foundation, Pisa (Italy)
VIA SAVI 10 56126 PISA

Phone: +39 050 886293

Dr. Lisa Polidori, Psychologist
IRCCS Stella Maris Foundation, Pisa (Italy)
Istituto Scientifico per la Neuropsichiatria dell'Infanzia e dell'Adolescenza
Viale del Tirreno, 331 56018 Calambrone (PI)
Phone: +39 050 886111

Brendan Andrade, Ph.D., C.Psych.
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Child, Youth, and Family Program
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry
University of Toronto
80 Workman Way
1st Floor, Beamish Family Wing
Intergenerational Wellness Centre
Toronto, Ontario M6J 1H4
phone - 416-535-8501 ext 33642
fax - 416-979-4685


Lochman, J.E., Boxmeyer, C., Powell, N., Qu, L., Wells, K., and Windle, M. (2009). Dissemination of the Coping Power program: Importance of intensity of counselor training. Journal of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, 77(3), 397-409.

Lochman, J.E., Boxmeyer, C.L., Powell, N.P., Qu, L., Wells, K., & Windle, M. (2012). Coping Power dissemination study: Intervention and special education effects on academic outcomes. Behavioral Disorders, forthcoming.

Lochman, J.E., & Wells, K.C. (2002a). The Coping Power program at the middle school transition: Universal and indicated prevention effects. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 16, S40-S54.

Lochman, J.E., & Wells, K.C. (2002b). Contextual social-cognitive mediators and child outcome: A test of the theoretical model in the Coping Power program. Development and Psychopathology, 14, 945-967.

Lochman, J.E., & Wells, K.C. (2003). Effectiveness of the Coping Power program and of classroom intervention with aggressive children: Outcomes at one-year follow-up. Behavior Therapy, 34, 493-515.

Lochman, J.E., & Wells, K.C. (2004). The Coping Power program for preadolescent aggressive boys and their parents: Outcome effects at the one-year follow-up. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72(4), 571-578.

Lochman, J.E., Wells, K.C., Qu, L., & Chen, L. (2013). Three year follow-up of Coping Power intervention effects: Evidence of neighborhood moderation? Prevention Science, 14, 364-376.

Muratori, P., Bertacchi, I., Giuli, C., Lombardi, L., Bonetti, S., Nocentini, A., ... Lochman, J. E. (2015). First adaptation of Coping Power Program as a classroom-based prevention intervention on aggressive behaviors 
among elementary school children. Prevention Science, 16, 432-439.

Muratori, P., Bertacchi, I., Giuli, C., Nocentini, A., Ruglioni, L., & Lochman, J. E. (2016). Coping Power adapted as universal prevention program: Mid term effects on children’s behavioral difficulties and academic grades. Journal of Primary Prevention, 37, 389-401.