- Use of pre-problem-solving vocabulary and skills
- Identifying feelings in self and others
- Developing alternative solutions to problems
- Use of consequential thinking -Means-ends thinking
ICPS skills are introduced sequentially to promote optimal skill acquisition. Similarly, program lessons are differentiated for different grade levels. ICPS lessons should be conducted at least 2-3 times per week for a period of 3-5 months. To provide an opportunity for all children to participate, preschool and kindergarten lessons should be conducted in small groups of 10 or fewer students. From first grade on, it is more feasible to conduct the lessons with the whole class.
This program is approved for WV Expanded School Mental Health.
Last reviewed: 2023
Intended Outcomes:The goals of I Can Problem Solve (ICPS) are:
- Improve Interpersonal Cognitive Problem Solving (ICPS) skills:
- Alternative solution thinking
- Consequential thinking
- Sequenced planning (means-ends thinking) skills, if 8-12 years old
Prevent or reduce early high-risk behaviors:
- Physical, verbal, and relational aggression
- Inability to wait and cope with frustration
- Social withdrawal
- Foster genuine empathy and concern for others
- Foster positive peer relations
- Increase cooperation and fairness that promote healthy relationships with peers -and adults
- Improve academic achievement as an outgrowth of less stress fostered by ICPS skills that allow children to concentrate on the task-oriented demands of the classroom
Continuum of Care:
Indicated Prevention, Selective Prevention, Universal Prevention
Behavioral Health/Mental Health, Disruptive Behaviors
A balanced amount of the research involved diverse populations
Children in preschool through grade 5.
This program is implemented by classroom teachers.
Is Training Required?
Yes, see developer info
Who can provide the required training?
Please use the following form to contact the developers about further training questions: https://share.hsforms.com/1vPntH8bwQN671GF2_Bm-hgblrw0
Program Costs (materials, training, etc.):
Yes, refer to program website
Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research:
Max G. Magnussen, Anthony P. Mannarino, Monica Christy, & Joseph A. Durlak. (2002). Evaluation of social competence training in the schools. Journal of School Psychology, 20, 11–19.
Dos Santos Elias, L. C., Marturano, E. M., de Almeida Motta, A. M., & Giurlani, A. G. (2003). Treating Boys with Low School Achievement and Behavior Problems: Comparison of Two Kinds of Intervention. Psychological Reports, 92(1), 105.
Shure, M. B., & Spivack, G. (1982). Interpersonal problem-solving in young children: A cognitive approach to prevention. American Journal of Community Psychology, 10(3), 341–356. https://doi.org/10.1007/
Boyle, D., & Hassett-Walker, C. (2008). Reducing Overt and Relational Aggression Among Young Children: The Results from a Two-Year Outcome Evaluation. Journal of School Violence, 7(1), 27–42. https://doi.org/10.1300/
Kumpfer, K. L., Alvarad, R., Tait, C., & Turner, C. (2002). Effectiveness of School-Based Family and Childrenʼs Skills Training for Substance Abuse Prevention Among 6–8-Year-Old Rural Children. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 16 Suppl 4, S65–S71.
Shure, M. B., & Spivack, G. (1979). Interpersonal Cognitive Problem Solving and Primary Prevention: Programming for Preschool and Kindergarten Children. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 8(2), 89. https://doi.org/10.1080/
Aras, Y. C., & Aslan, D. (2018). The Effects of “I Can Problem Solve Program” on Children’s Perspective Taking Abilities.
Myrna B. Shure, & George Spivack. (2003). Interpersonal problem solving as a mediator of behavioral adjustment in preschool and kindergarten children. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 1, 29–44.
Well-Supported by Research
»WV Ratings Info
Rationale for Rating:
Multiple well-designed RCTs that lead to similar positive outcomes across multiple clinically-relevant samples replicated by more than one research group. All but one study is over 10 years old.
Contraindications or Concerns:
The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare:
Promising Research Evidence
Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development:
Not On Registry
Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness:
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Model Programs Guide:
Promising - More than one study
Washington State Institute for Public Policy:
Not On Registry