The Coping Course For Juvenile Corrections

Problem(s) Addressed by Treatment
Suicidality or Suicidal Ideation
Other: Negative emotions, general coping and problem solving skills

Program Summary
THE COPING COURSE utilizes cognitive-behavioral therapy to treat incarcerated youth in closed-custody juvenile facilities. The aims of this intervention are: improving behavior within the facility; reducing negative emotions, including depression, anger, frustration, boredom, sadness, and fear; and enhancing general coping and problem solving skills.

THE COPING COURSE consists of 16 group treatment sessions occurring twice a week over 8 weeks. The program uses handouts, structured learning tasks, short quizzes, and homework assignments to teach the following skills in a group treatment setting: social skills, relaxation techniques, identifying and increasing fun activities, changing negative thinking, communication and problem-solving skills, and developing a Life Plan and long term goals.

Program Evaluation/Results
The therapeutic efficacy of THE COPING COURSE has been evaluated in a randomized control trial in 2004 in a state youth correctional facility. Participants were randomly assigned to either: 1) THE COPING COURSE treatment condition; or 2) usual care. An additional site served as second control group. All 76 participants (mean age 16 years) at both facilities were male, with the majority (64.2%) of white non-Latino race/ethnicity.

Study results indicated that externalizing problems and suicide proneness reduced for the treatment group. In addition, self esteem, sharing feelings with staff, and CBT knowledge all increased after treatment. No differences were found between control groups from pre- to post-assessments. The study authors concluded that incarcerated male adolescents benefit from group interventions aimed at enhancing general coping skills. They assert that future research should examine the impact of cognitive-behavioral group treatments with incarcerated youth, including more extensive assessments of psychopathology, psychosocial functioning, and criminal recidivism over a longer follow-up period.


Age Range
11-14 years
15-18 years

Treatment Components
Group Therapy

Intersession Assignment

Treatment Participants


Duration of Treatment
Group: 8 Weeks, 16 Sessions (90 minutes each)

Treatment Providers
Licensed Professionals
Trainees (Graduate Student, Intern, Post-Doc)

Staffing Requirements/Training

Group sessions of 6 to 10 participants per group may be led by co-facilitators: a PhD-level therapist paired with a Master’s-level therapist. The program developers recommend one male and one female therapist as co-leaders of both single- and mixed-gender groups.

It is intended that this program be implemented by mental health professionals with appropriate education, training, credentialing, and experience treating the target population.

Availability of Treatment Program Materials
Replication kit including all treatment program materials available for purchase from Sociometrics.



The CEDETA Treatment Package for this program costs $385 and includes:

1 CEDETA User's Guide 1 Leader Manual
1 Reference copy of the Student Workbook Photocopy masters of all handouts in the Student Workbook
1 packet of 100 Biodots and a color code card 1 Reference copy of the available evaluation instruments used during the original study
1 Reference copy of the age-appropriate PedsQL™ instruments

Sociometrics CEDETA materials are restricted to qualified purchasers in accordance with the ethical and professional standards of the American Psychological Association. CEDETA materials are therefore, only available for purchase by mail, phone or fax. For further details, see the purchaser requirements, or click below to download a qualification/order form.

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