Dr. John Lochman, retired director of the Center for the Prevention of Youth Behavior Problems at The University of Alabama, is the 2019 recipient of the Lahoma Adams Buford Peace Award.
The Buford Peace Award recognizes UA faculty members who are both professionally and personally active in causes that promote peace and justice.
Lochman, professor and Doddridge Saxon Chair Emeritus in UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, is currently interim director of the Alabama Life Research Institute. He is the 16th recipient of the award and was recognized May 6 at the UA School of Social Work’s Academic Awards Ceremony.
Lochman is the co-creator of Coping Power, a school-based preventative intervention curriculum designed to address aggressive behavior in early adolescents. The program’s primary goal is to help at-risk youth regulate their emotions and impulsive behaviors through recognition of their own triggers, goal-setting and positive reinforcement.
Coping Power has been implemented throughout the Tuscaloosa community and across the globe, in countries like Italy, Canada, Sweden and Portugal.
Lochman has garnered many awards for his behavior intervention research but said he was both surprised and honored to receive the Buford Peace Award, as the focus of the award isn’t on the quality or extent of his research, but about the positive outcomes achieved in addressing aggressive behavior and interpersonal conflict.
“I am extremely honored to have been nominated, much less receive the award,” Lochman said. “As I think about this award, I think about my collaborators and the range of people that I work with that are equally a part of the interventions for children with problems. [I also think about] the parents who see their children improve over time.”
“We’ve worked hard to think about how to better serve the families and better adapt the interventions, to change them for every child that doesn’t seem to benefit, and to change outcomes for them.”
Lochman said the Buford Peace Award has prompted reflection of the community impact of his work, and the many pivots he and his collaborators have made to achieve more positive outcomes. In the late 1970s, shortly after earning his doctorate, Lochman was part of a federal grant to deliver comprehensive health care to children in low-income areas of Dallas, Texas. He and a colleague responded to a large number of referrals of elementary-aged boys being overly aggressive and creating difficulties for themselves, classmates and teachers. Lochman wanted to respond to the referrals in a broader way, so he co-developed an “anger control” program that would establish many of the components that would become pillars of Coping Power. The positive gains in children regulating emotion, considering consequences and creating alternate goals prompted them to begin working with parents.
“Even today, what we do now is what we did then,” Lochman said.
Lochman directed UA’s Center for the Prevention of Youth Behavior Problems from 2006 to 2018. The Center works with area schools to promote evidence-based programming for violence prevention. He has several active behavioral intervention projects with UA colleagues, including studies that have applied Coping Power curriculum to middle school students, and to Head Start students and another that analyzes the behavior outcomes in children that receive interventions in groups, versus those that receive individual interventions.