This study provides empirical verification that variations in patterns of coping can explain current and future functioning of youth. The study evaluated the methods and styles of coping of inner–city youth and their relation to age, gender, ethnicity, stress levels, and internalizing and externalizing symptom levels. Three hundred seventy–two 12– to 16–year–old adolescents from inner–city schools (67.0% African American, 24.4% Hispanic; 53.41% males) participated. One hundred forty–nine were also included in a follow–up evaluation of the prospective relation of coping to functioning. A seven–factor model of coping methods was identified and found to be applicable across age groups, genders, and ethnic groups. The model was robust over time. Coping methods were categorized through cluster analysis into five styles. Styles were found to relate somewhat to demographic characteristics and stress levels. Controlling for demographic characteristics and stress levels, coping style related concurrently and prospectively to internalizing and externalizing symptom levels. Except in one instance, age, ethnicity, and gender did not interact with coping in predicting symptoms. Implications for further coping research and risk and intervention design are discussed.