Coping Power Program

Program snapshot

Age group: Early childhood (0-6); Late childhood (7-11)

Gender: Mixed (male and female)

Population served: No specific targeted population

Topic: Aggressive/violent behaviours; Alcohol and/or drug use; Antisocial/deviant behaviours

Setting: Urban area; School-based; Social services setting

Location: Ontario

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 1

Continuum of intervention: Secondary crime prevention

Brief Description

The Coping Power Program is a multi-component intervention program that targets youth who are in the process of transitioning to middle school. The program targets cognitive distortions among aggressive children that lead to difficulties in interpreting social situations and effective problem solving when faced with difficult circumstances.

The program is centered on cognitive behavioural therapy; conflict resolution; leadership and youth development; school-based strategies; skills training; social emotional learning; community mobilization; substance prevention; and parent training.


The main goals of the Coping Power Program are to:

  • Educate parents in effective parenting to reduce problem behaviours (as well as substance abuse, if applicable);
  • Reduce the tendency for parents to use harsh discipline, poor monitoring skills, and vague commands; and
  • Target areas of the youth’s development that may result in future antisocial behaviours.


The appropriate clientele for the Coping Power Program is aggressive children in transition to middle school, particularly those in Grades 4 to 6. Ages of participants can vary from 5 to 13 years old.

Participants may be referred by teachers in schools that implement the Coping Power Program. To participate in the program, children must be identified by their teachers and parents as being among the most aggressive and disruptive children (top 20 to 30 percent). Children may also participate if they are deemed at risk for subsequent substance use and delinquency. Parents of these children (or their primary caretakers) are also able to participate in the parent component of the Coping Power Program.

Core Components

The Coping Power Program requires 15 to 18 months to implement. The program components include the following:

  • Child component: The Coping Power Program child component consists of 34 structured cognitive-behavioural group sessions (lasting approximately 50 minutes) and periodic individual sessions designed to positively affect the child’s organization and study skills; anger management skills; social skills; problem solving skills; ability to resist peer pressure; and entry into positive peer groups; and
  • Parent component: The Coping Power Program parent component consists of 16 group sessions and periodic one-to-one contacts aimed at developing and reinforcing parents’ use of praise and positive attention; clear rules and expectations; promotion of child study skills; appropriate discipline practices; parental stress management; family communication and problem solving; and reinforcement of problem solving skills children learned in the program.

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: The lead organization must ensure that written policies are in place with regard to program delivery and parent involvement.
  • Partnerships: Organizations should collaborate with school boards and their administrators and teachers in order to ensure that the program is successfully delivered. Parental involvement is also important in order to ensure that all program components are being implemented.
  • 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. Coping Power Program training staff also provide ongoing consultation twice a month via one-hour conference calls after the initial training has been completed.
  • Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
  • Materials & resources: In order to adequately administer the Coping Power Program, teachers and staff can purchase the following Coping Power Manuals: Coping Power: Child Group Facilitator’s Guide and Coping Power: Parent Group Facilitator’s Guide. Facilitators may also purchase the Coping Power: Child Group Workbook and the Coping Power: Parent Group Workbook.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Promising
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Promising (more than one study)
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

The Coping Power Program has been implemented with elementary school children in various schools throughout the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) in Ontario (2012-2013).

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

An outcome evaluation study of the Coping Power Program was conducted in 2012-2013 by Salvin-Stewart and Lipman. A quasi-experimental design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the Coping Power Program that was implemented in four elementary schools from the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB). Participants were required to complete the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) before and after the intervention. Twenty-eight interviews were also conducted with the educational staff involved in administering the program in order to identify the challenging aspects of the program.

Results from this evaluation showed the following:

  • Students’ scores on all five domains of the SDQ showed improvements from pre- to post- intervention. The decrease in the student outcome change score for total problems reached significance (p < 0.05). At the secondary school level (n=46), however, the student outcome change scores did not reach significance for any of the five domains or for total problems, although there was a significant trend for self-reported peer problems to decline (p = 0.05).These findings suggest that the intervention was successful in reducing problem behaviours at the elementary school level, but may not be effective at the secondary school level.

For more information, refer to Slavin-Stewart and Lipman’s (2014) publication.

Cost Information

The cost is not available in Canadian dollars. Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development (2015) has provided a cost example which includes 15 teams of two facilitators each serving two groups of six parent-child pairs (serving a total of 180 parent-child pairs). In this case, the total cost per parent-child pair would be $556 (USD).  


Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development (2015). Coping Power - Program Information. Available from:

Slavin-Stewart, C., & Lipman, E. (2014). Implementation factors related to student outcomes on the pilot of the Coping Power Program in a city school board. Education Practice and Innovation, 1(4), 10-29. Available from:

For more information on this program, contact:

The University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487
Telephone: (205) 348-3535

Record Entry Date - 2018-02-21
Record Updated On - 2021-04-29
Date modified: