This study investigates the efficacy of an intensive, integrated approach to stress reduction and coping enhancement directed towards an educated, upper level management population. Ninety-five US governmental senior managers participated in a 35-h stress management retreat held over a 3.5-day period. The retreat combined didactic and experiential activities that were designed to increase participants' knowledge of stress liabilities and coping skills. Participants were encouraged to make positive lifestyle changes and to create specific action plans for the year following the workshop. Evaluations of participant satisfaction were completed at the close of the workshop. Eighty-three participants completed baseline and follow-up Stress and Coping Inventory (SCI) assessments in order to identify durable changes in these measures. Across 10 months, participants showed significant improvements in their overall Global Balance scores, psychological symptoms, depression symptoms, and all major coping scales, including Health Habits, Social Support, Responses to Stress and Life Satisfactions. Therefore, an intensive, multifaceted approach to stress intervention is a viable option for encouraging sustained behavioural change. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.