WWC review of this study

Dissemination of the Coping Power program: Importance of intensity of counselor training.

Lochman, J. E., Boxmeyer, C., Powell, N., Qu, L., Wells, K., & Windle, M. (2009). Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 77(3), 397–409. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ842419

  • Randomized controlled trial
     examining 
    332
     Students
    , grades
    4-5
No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: October 2011

External behavior outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC) Externalizing Composite Teacher Rating Scale

Coping Power vs. business as usual

Posttest

Grades 4 and 5;
302 students

26.4

32

No

--
More Outcomes

National Youth Survey (NYS): Minor Assault Scale

Coping Power vs. business as usual

Posttest

Grades 4 and 5;
328 students

0.6

0.8

No

--

Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC) Externalizing Composite Parent Rating Scale

Coping Power vs. business as usual

Posttest

Grades 4 and 5;
332 students

19.6

20.2

No

--
Social outcomes outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC) Social/Acadmic Composite Teacher Rating Scale

Coping Power vs. business as usual

Posttest

Grades 4 and 5;
302 students

49.5

43.9

No

--
More Outcomes

BASC Social Composite Parent Rating Scale

Coping Power vs. business as usual

Posttest

Grades 4 and 5;
332 students

55

54.2

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 35%
    Male: 65%
  • Race
    Black
    84%

  • Suburban, Urban
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    Alabama

Setting

The schools came from five districts in northern Alabama (33 schools were located in Birmingham, 11 in Tuscaloosa or Tuscaloosa County, 5 in Bessemer City, and 8 in Shelby County). The set of schools is diverse and covers both urban and suburban areas.

Study sample

A total of 49 counselors from 57 schools and five school districts were assigned to the Coping Power Training + Feedback condition (CP-TF), the Coping Power Basic Training condition (CP-BT), or a no-treatment comparison group. Nineteen schools were assigned to each condition. The sample consisted of two cohorts of students, with 13 schools in the first cohort and 44 schools in the second cohort. Randomization to study condition took place at the school counselor level and was stratified by district; eight counselors worked with two schools each, so these schools were assigned as pairs. Students were selected for participation based on third-grade teachers’ ratings of six aggressive behaviors in the spring semester. The 30% most aggressive students across all classrooms, excluding the top 2%, were considered potentially eligible for the study. A total of 1,435 students met these criteria. Within each school’s pool of eligible students, families were randomly contacted until a maximum of 10 families agreed to participate. The same process was used in both treatment and comparison schools. The initial sample consisted of 531 “high-risk” students (CP-TF = 168; CP-BT = 183; comparison group = 180) who were included in the study based on the Teacher Report of Reactive and Proactive Aggression (Dodge et al. 1997).16 The analysis sample consists of 332 students. The program was delivered to participants during fourth and fifth grade. A majority of the sample was made up of African American (84%) and male (65%) students.

Intervention Group

Coping Power had a child and parent component and was implemented by school staff. Children received thirty-four 50- to 60-minute group sessions during school time, and parents received sixteen 90-minute group sessions. The intervention lasted over two school years (grades 4 and 5). Children and parents respectively attended 11 and 5 sessions in the fourthgrade year and the remaining sessions in the fifth-grade year. Children also received monthly individual sessions. Parents met in groups of 10 or fewer or in parent dyads. Fidelity of program implementation was assessed by researchers through eight variables evaluating program delivery and counselor engagement. Seven of the measures were derived from audiotapes of child and parent sessions; parents attended less than 25% of scheduled parent sessions.

Comparison Group

Usual counseling services were provided in these schools. The comparison group was led by 17 counselors, with a mean of 9.4 years of experience. Fourteen staff members were certified as school counselors, 10 had a master’s degree, and 6 held a Ph.D. The report indicates that these counselors were comparable to counselors in the other two study conditions with regard to education and experience.

Outcome descriptions

This study included parent and teacher ratings on the Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC), including the externalizing and social/academic composites. The National Youth Survey (NYS) Minor Assault Scale also was used. The study measured outcomes before and after two school years of implementation. For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendix B.

Support for implementation

By nature of the study, counselors in the CP-TF condition received more intensive training than counselors in the CP-BT condition. The CP-BT counselors attended three workshop training days in the fall before the intervention and two-hour monthly sessions throughout the study. The CP-TF counselors received these components plus individualized technical assistance for specific problems via email or over the phone; trainers also reviewed the rate of session completion and gave feedback to counselors in the CP-TF condition. Counselors in the CP-TF condition received the version of Coping Power that is recommended by the developers; this more intensive training reflects how the program has evolved for application in real-life, community settings outside of a research setting. Training to all counselors was provided by four of the research authors, who were doctoral-level clinical psychologists.

 

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