Implementing Coping Power Adapted as a Universal Prevention Program in Italian Primary Schools: a Randomized Control Trial

Abstract

Behavioral problems in schools can cause serious harm to the emotional and social well-being of students and limit their ability to achieve their full academic potential. A prior pilot study on the universal application of Coping Power showed a significant decrease in the hyperactivity behaviors of five classes. The next step was to test whether Coping Power Universal could be successfully implemented by teachers in a variety of Italian schools. The sample involved 40 third- and fourth-grade classes (901 students) from public schools located in three Italian cities. Twenty classes were randomly assigned to Coping Power Universal, and 20 classes were randomly assigned to the control group, which received the strictly standard academic curriculum of Italian elementary schools. At each assessment period, the teachers completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. The findings showed a significant reduction in hyperactive and inattention behaviors and conduct problems and emotional symptoms in the intervention classes compared with the control classes. This study suggests that Coping Power model can be delivered in school settings at both universal and targeted prevention levels and that in this multi-tiered prevention model, teachers can learn a set of intervention skills which can be delivered with flexibility, thus reducing some of the complexity and costs of schools using multiple interventions.

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Correspondence to Pietro Muratori.

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Conflict of Interest

John Lochman is the co-developer of the Coping Power program and receives royalties from the Oxford University Press for the Coping Power Implementation Guides for the Child Group Program and the Parent Group Program. He is also the PI on grants from NICHD and NIDA which provide funding for intervention research on the Coping Power program. All the other authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Muratori, P., Bertacchi, I., Giuli, C. et al. Implementing Coping Power Adapted as a Universal Prevention Program in Italian Primary Schools: a Randomized Control Trial. Prev Sci 18, 754–761 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-016-0715-7

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Keywords

  • Aggressive behavior
  • Hyperactivity
  • Emotional symptoms
  • Implementation