The constitutive behavior of passivated copper films is studied. Stresses in copper films of thickness ranging from 1000 nm to 40 nm, passivated with silicon oxide on a quartz or silicon substrate, were measured using the curvature method. The thermal cycling spans a temperature range from - 196 to 600°C. It is seen that the strong relaxation at high temperatures normally found in unpassivated films is nonexistent for passivated films. The copper film did not show any rate-dependent effect over a range of heating/cooling rate from 5 to 25°C/min. Further analyses showed that significant strain hardening exists during the course of thermal loading. In particular, the measured stress- temperature response can only be fitted with a kinematic hardening model, if a simple constitutive law within the continuum plasticity framework is to be used. The analytic procedures for extracting the film properties are presented. Implications to stress modeling of copper interconnects in actual devices are discussed.