Glancing-incidence X-ray diffraction (GIXRD) has been applied to the investigation of depth-dependent stress distributions within electroplated Cu films due to overlying capping layers. 0.65 μm thick Cu films plated on conventional barrier and seed layers received a CVD SiCxNyHz cap, an electrolessly-deposited CoWP layer, or a CoWP layer followed by a SiCxNyHz cap. GIXRD and conventional X-ray diffraction measurements revealed that strain gradients were created in Cu films possessing a SiCxNyHz cap, where a greater in-plane tensile stress was generated near the film / cap interface. The constraint imposed by the SiCxNyHz layer during cooling from the cap deposition temperature led to an increase in the in-plane stress of approximately 180 MPa from the value measured in the bulk Cu. However, Cu films possessing a CoWP cap without a SiCxNyHz layer did not exhibit depth-dependent stress distributions. Because the CoWP capping deposition temperature was much lower than that employed in SiCxNyHz deposition, the Cu experienced elastic deformation during the capping process. Cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy indicated that the top surface of the Cu films exhibited extrusions near grain boundaries for the samples undergoing the thermal excursion during SiCxNyHz deposition. The conformal nature of these caps confirmed that the morphological changes of the Cu film surface occurred prior to capping and are a consequence of the thermal excursions associated with cap deposition.