The Coping Power Program (CPP) is a multifaceted prevention and intervention program designed to target children with aggression problems. The program operates on the theory that children with aggression are at risk for developing subsequent risky behaviors, such as substance use. In an effort to disrupt this potential trajectory, CPP targets four key areas of children’s development that are considered to be predictive of later risk behaviors. The CPP consists of separate parent and child skill-building sessions that help promote social competence, self-regulation, school bonding, and parental involvement. The Coping Power Program has been the subject of multiple evaluations. In general, results indicate that CPP helps reduce rates of substance use and delinquent behavior while also improving children’s social competence, behavior, attention, and mood.
DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM
Target population: Aggressive or disruptive children in grades four through six approaching a transition to middle school
The Coping Power Program (CPP) is a school-based program designed to target children exhibiting aggressive and disruptive behaviors in late elementary school. The program is typically implemented in the 5th and 6th grades in anticipation of the difficult transition to middle school and early adolescence.
CPP is comprised of two separate parent and child components that run for approximately 15 months. Both components have manuals available for purchase here. The child component consists of 8 sessions the first year (5th grade) and 25 sessions the second year (6th grade). These 40-60 minute sessions are led by a trained program staff member and a school guidance counselor; they typically include between four and six children. Sessions focus on coping skills, peer relations, social competence, anger management, and general social and academic problem-solving skills. The sessions involve interactive video vignettes, role playing, and various skill-building activities. Children also meet separately with program staff around once or twice a month to focus on individual goals and progress.
The parent component is delivered by two trained program staff members over the same 15-month time period as the child component. It consists of 16 sessions, which usually take place at school and include between four and six parents or parent dyads. This component teaches parents monitoring and supervision skills, inductive discipline strategies, rewarding and reinforcement, family communication skills, family management skills, and stress management strategies. Additionally, parents learn how to encourage and support the skills their children are being taught as part of the child component, so they can reinforce them at home.
EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM
Study 1: Lochman, J.E., & Wells, K.C. (2003). Effectiveness of the Coping Power Program and of classroom intervention with aggressive children: Outcomes at a 1-year follow-up. Behavior Therapy, 34, 493-515.
Evaluated population: The sample included 245 fourth grade children from 60 classrooms in 17 elementary schools who were identified by their teachers as being among the top 31 percent on measures of aggressiveness served as the sample for this evaluation. The sample had a 2 to1 ratio of boys to girls.
Approach: The purpose of this particular study was to analyze follow-up data from a study that had already been subject to immediate, post-intervention analysis. Prior to the implementation of the interventions, baseline data were collected from participating children and their primary caregivers. This study analyzes data from assessment point four, which took place three years after the initial baseline assessments and one year after the completion of the intervention.
Initially, classrooms were randomly assigned to either receive the classroom-level intervention or to the control condition. Within each of these conditions, the at-risk children were further randomly assigned either to receive the Coping Power program or to a control group. This produced the following four study cells: 1) Coping Power program only (CP), 2) Coping Power program plus the classroom-level intervention (CPCL), 3) classroom-level intervention only (CL), and 4) control condition (C).
The classroom-level intervention had the following two components: 1) parent meetings which focused on promoting positive child development for school success, and 2) teacher in-service meetings emphasizing a number of strategies for developing children’s socio-emotional well-being. The parent component of the intervention consisted of four meetings between the parents and intervention specialists, and the teacher component involved five, 2-hour long meetings with Coping Power program staff members.
The Coping Power program had two components: 1) parent-focus, and 2) child-focus. The child-focused intervention lasted 16 months, and was comprised of 34 school-based, group sessions. Each session lasted between 40 and 50 minutes. Each child also received individual sessions, lasting 30 minutes and taking place once every other month. The parent-focused intervention consisted of 16 parent group sessions that took place over the course of 16 months. The content of the child- and parent-focused interventions were as explained in the “Description of Program” section of this summary.
Children were assessed for self-reported delinquency, substance use, and teacher-rated school aggression.
Results: Compared with control children, CP children had significantly lower levels of self-reported delinquency (effect size of .35) but did not report lower rates of school aggression. Also, older CP children had lower substance use rates compared to older control children (effect size of 1.00). Additionally, moderate-risk CP children had significantly lower substance use rates than moderate-risk control children (effect size of .87) but impacts for high-risk children were not found.
CPCL children also reported significantly lower delinquency rates than control children (effect size of .21), but did not report lower rates of school aggression. Additionally, CPCL reduced rates of substance use among older children (effect size of .55), but not among younger children.
Finally, no impacts on delinquency, substance use, or school aggression were found for children in the CL condition.
Study 2: Lochman, J.E., & Wells, K.C. (2004). The Coping Power Program for preadolescent aggressive boys and their parents: Outcome effects at the 1-year follow-up. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72(4), 571-578.
Evaluated population: Fourth and fifth grade boys exhibiting aggressive and disruptive behaviors and their parents were evaluated. Of the initial 1,578 boys screened, the top 22 percent (n=546) were identified as high-risk candidates. After further eligibility screening and consent, the sample was reduced to 183 boys. With the exception of cognitive scores, which were lower among boys who did not consent, no significant differences were found between the original high risk pool and the consenting participants.
Approach: Boys were randomly assigned to participate in one of three conditions. The Child Intervention (n=60) received only the Coping Power Child Component; the Child and Parent Intervention (n=60) received both the Coping Power Child Component and the Coping Power Parent Component; and the control group (n=63) which received school services as usual. Evaluators report that attrition throughout the study did not bias the conditions and that there were no differences between groups at baseline.
Outcomes assessed in the evaluation included parent and child-reported substance use, child-reported covert and overt delinquency, and teacher-reported assessments of the child’s behavioral improvements in school.
Results: At the one-year follow up, children who participated in the intervention, either the Child Component (CI) or the combination of Child and Parent Components (CPI), endorsed fewer acts of covert delinquency, were rated by parents as having lower rates of substance use, and were rated by teachers as having fewer behavior problems, when compared with boys in the control group. Impacts for each intervention group were also estimated. No significant impacts were found for the CI group. Those in the CPI, however, endorsed significantly less covert delinquency, less parent-reported substance use, and fewer teacher-reported behavior problems.
No significant differences were found among conditions on measures of child-reported overt delinquency (such as robbery or assault) or substance use.
Limitations to the current study include the relatively small sample size and the homogeneity of the sample (no girls were included due to funding limitations). Furthermore, because the Coping Power Parent Component was not evaluated, one cannot discern whether the promising effects of the CPI are due to the combination of the parent and child components, or the impact of the parent component alone. Finally, the self-report measures of delinquency and substance use may be subject to social desirability bias and therefore not entirely representative of actual behavior.
Study 3: Cabiya, J.J., Padiolla-Cotto, L., Gonzalez, K., Sanchez-Cestero, J., Martinez-Taboas, A., & Sayers, S. (2008). Effectiveness of a cognitive-behavioral intervention for Puerto Rican Children. Revista Interamericana de Psicologia/Interamerican Journal of Psychology, 42(2), 195-202.
Evaluated population: In San Juan, Puerto Rico, 274 low-income public school students who met diagnostic criteria for a disruptive disorder. The mean age of the students was 10.58 (SD=1.12) in the intervention group and 10.49 (SD=1.11) in the control group.
Approach: The purpose of this pilot study was to extend findings on the Coping Power program beyond North American populations to include Latino children living in Puerto Rico. Initially, public school teachers identified 608 students with aggressive classroom behaviors who were then evaluated with a symptoms checklist based on DSM-IV-TR criteria for disruptive disorders. Of the larger group, 355 children met criteria for ADHD, ODD, or CD. Random assignment into treatment or wait-list control groups occurred at this stage, followed by informed consent procedures, which further decreased the sample to 278. Four children dropped out of the intervention group before the first session, leaving a final treatment group of 170 children (120 boys, 50 girls) and a control group of 104 children.
Twelve treatment sessions, held with groups of 8 students in private rooms on school grounds, were led by doctoral students in clinical psychology who were supervised by the project director. Data were collected at three time points: prior to the start of the intervention, one week after completion of the 12 intervention sessions, and 6 months after completion of treatment. However, no wait-list control group children were evaluated at the 6-month follow-up; therefore, findings for this follow-up are not reported.
The outcomes measured were teacher-reported disruptive school behaviors, including irritability/hostility, high activity/impulsivity, and distractibility/low motivation, and child-reported depressive symptoms. The authors did not provide information on whether analyses adjusted for clustering by school or classroom.
Results: The program did not appear to have impacts on disruptive behaviors (high activity/impulsivity and irritability/hostility). However, positive significant impacts were found for attention and mood, measured at posttest. At posttest, children who received the intervention received significantly better ratings from teachers on distractibility/low motivation (effect size of .24 for males and .69 for females) and had fewer self-reported depressive symptoms (effect size of .31 for males and .27 for females) than children in the wait-list control group. No significant differences were found between treatment and control conditions at the posttest evaluation on irritability/hostility or high activity/impulsivity.
SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION
Manuals and workbooks (for purchase): http://www.copingpower.com/Manuals.aspx
Lochman, J.E., & Wells, K.C. (2002). The Coping Power Program at the middle-school transition: Universal and indicated prevention effects. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 16(4S), S40-S54.
Lochman, J.E., & Wells, K.C. (2003). Effectiveness of the Coping Power Program and of classroom intervention with aggressive children: Outcomes at a 1-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 1-year follow-up. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72(4), 571-578.
Cabiya, J.J., Padiolla-Cotto, L., Gonzalez, K., Sanchez-Cestero, J., Martinez-Taboas, A., & Sayers, S. (2008). Effectiveness of a cognitive-behavioral intervention for Puerto Rican Children. Revista Interamericana de Psicologia/Interamerican Journal of Psychology, 42(2), 195-202.
KEYWORDS: Elementary School, Children, Males and Females (Co-ed), Hispanic/Latino, School-based, High-Risk, Clinic/Provider-based, Cost, Manual, Skills Training, Parent or Family Component, Parent Training/Education, Depression/Mood Disorders, Conduct/Disruptive Disorders, Aggression, Delinquency, Substance Use
Program information last updated 3/3/14.