Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Menna, Rosanne (Psychology)


Psychology, Clinical.




This study investigated the effectiveness of a coping skills program, called the Best of Coping (Frydenberg & Brandon, 2002), for a sample of 74 (33 male and 41 female) at-risk adolescents between 13 and 16 years of age. Data collection included pretreatment, posttreatment, and follow-up assessments, with the intervention (TM) group compared to a waitlist control (WL) group at pretest to posttest. Adolescents completed surveys on measures of stress, coping, perceived mastery, symptomatology, life satisfaction, and happiness. Parent and teacher surveys were also collected. The findings supported the utility of the BOC program in improving adolescent coping. The TM group reported an increase in use of adaptive coping strategies and decrease in use of maladaptive coping strategies from pre- to post-treatment compared to the WL group. The TM group males reported a decrease in the use of worry as a coping strategy compared to TM group females and WL controls. Parents also reported an increase in the use of adolescent productive coping for the TM group compared to WL group. Both teacher and adolescent report demonstrated a decrease in the proportion of adolescents rated in the borderline to abnormal range on symptom impact for the TM group compared to the WL group. On average, all informants perceived the BOC program as helpful, especially adolescents and parents. Follow-up assessment demonstrated that many adolescent-reported improvements were maintained, and several parent- and self-report outcome variables improved from pretreatment levels. Program adherence, participant (gender, symptomatology, participation, interest and motivation) and instructor (training level, helpfulness and understanding) characteristics were examined to see if they were related to the effectiveness of the program. Generally, these various characteristics did not impact outcome substantially, although some relations were found. Adolescents with greater pretreatment symptoms reported greater improvements in symptomatology from pre- to post-treatment than adolescents with fewer symptoms. The present study contributes to prior research by implementing several methodological standards, while remaining flexible to meet participant needs. Research contributions, clinical implications, and future research directions are discussed.