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Program Profile: KiVa Antibullying Program

Evidence Rating: Promising - More than one study Promising - More than one study

Date: This profile was posted on June 10, 2011

Program Summary

This school-based program delivered to elementary school students to reduce bullying and victimization was designed for national use in the Finnish comprehensive schools. This program is rated Promising. There were statistically significant reductions for self-reported bullying and victimization and peer-reported victimization for KiVa schools compared with control schools; however, there were no significant differences between treatment and comparison schools on peer-reported bullying.

This program’s rating is based on evidence that includes at least one high-quality randomized controlled trial.

Program Description

Program Goals
The KiVa Antibullying Program is a school-based program delivered to all students in grades One, Four, and Seven. It was designed for national use in the Finnish comprehensive schools. Its goal is to reduce school bullying and victimization. The central aims of the program are to:
  • Raise awareness of the role that a group plays in maintaining bullying
  • Increase empathy toward victims
  • Promote strategies to support the victim and to support children’s self-efficacy to use those strategies
  • Increase children’s skills in coping when they are victimized
Program Components
The program is a whole-school intervention, meaning that it uses a multilayered approach to address individual-, classroom-, and school-level factors. The curriculum consists of 10 lessons that are delivered over 20 hours by classroom teachers. The students engage in discussions, group work, and role-playing exercises. They also watch short films about bullying. Each lesson is constructed around a central theme, and one rule is associated with that theme; after the lesson is delivered, the class adopts that rule as a class rule. At the end of the year, all the rules are combined into a contract, which all students then sign.

A program manual provides guidelines to the teachers on how much time should be devoted to each theme. Schools have the flexibility to decide how to organize the school year around the themes. Manuals and curricula are developmentally targeted, with versions available for grades 1–3, 4–6, and 7–9.

For primary school children, an antibullying computer game has been developed that students can play during and between the KiVa lessons. For secondary schools students, a virtual learning environment, “KiVa Street,” has been developed; on KiVa Street, students can access information about bullying from a “library,” or they can go to the “movie theater” to watch short films about bullying.

The program actively engages the school and parents. For recess, special vests are given to the playground helpers to enhance their visibility and remind students that the school takes bullying seriously. Materials are also posted around the school that promote antibullying messages. A PowerPoint presentation has been developed that schools can use to introduce the program to school staff and parents, and parents receive a guide that includes information about and advice on dealing with bullying.

In addition to prevention messages, teams are in place to deal with identified bullying cases. The three-person team meets with the classroom teacher to discuss the identified case. Then one- or two-team members meet with the victim (or victims) and the bully in a series of sessions. The manual and training provide guidance on how to conduct these discussions.

Program Theory
The developers of KiVa used social-cognitive theory as a framework for understanding social behavior. They also drew on research that suggests that bullying behavior stems from the pursuit of high status within a peer group and that the maintenance of bullying depends on group behavior. KiVa predicts that changes in group behaviors can reduce bullying by reducing the rewards of bullying (Kärnä and colleagues 2011a).

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Self-Reported Bullying
At the 1-year follow up, Kärnä and colleagues (2011a) found that students in KiVa schools experienced statistically significant reductions in levels of bullying, compared with students in control schools. The odds of being a bully were about 1.2 times higher in the control schools, compared with the KiVa schools.

Self-Reported Victimization
At the 1-year follow up, students in KiVa schools had statistically significant reductions in levels of self-reported victimization, compared with students in control schools. The odds of being a victim were about 1.5 times higher in the control schools, compared with the KiVa schools.

Peer-Reported Bullying
There were no significant differences in peer-reported bullying between KiVa schools and control schools a the 1-year follow up.

Peer-Reported Victimization
At the 1-year follow up, students in KiVa schools reported statistically significant reductions in levels of peer-reported victimization, compared with students in control schools.

Study 2
Self-Reported Victimization Grades 1-9
At the 7-month follow up, Kärnä and colleagues (2011b) found that students in KiVa schools had statistically significant reductions in self-reported victimization, compared with students in control schools. The odds of being a victim were about 1.2 times higher in the control schools, compared with the KiVa intervention schools. This corresponds to a 15-percent reduction in the prevalence rates of victimization.

Self-Reported Bullying Grades 1-9
At the 7-month follow up, students in KiVa schools had statistically significant reductions in levels of self-reported bullying, compared with students in control schools. The odds of being a bully were also about 1.2 times higher in the control schools, compared with the KiVa Intervention schools. This corresponds to a 14-percent reduction in the prevalence rates of bullying.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Kärnä and colleagues (2011a) used a randomized control trial to assess the effectiveness of the KiVa Antibullying Program in reducing school bullying and victimization in grades Four–Six. Seventy-eight Finnish schools participated in the study and were randomly assigned either to the treatment group (39 schools, 4,207 students) or the control group (39 schools, 4,030 students). The sample was evenly divided between boys and girls (50.1 percent girls), and most were most native Finns (only 2.4 percent were immigrants). Data was collected at three time points—in May 2007 (T1), December 2007/January 2008 (T2), and May 2008 (T3)—through Web-based questionnaires. Control and treatment participants did not differ statistically on criterion variables.

Primary outcomes included self-reported and peer-reported bullying and victimization. Secondary outcomes included defending victims, assisting/reinforcing bullies, antibullying attitudes, empathy toward victims, self-efficacy for defending, and student well-being. Self-reported bullying/victimization were measured using the revised Olweus’ Bully/Victim questionnaire. Secondary outcomes were measured using the Participant Role Questionnaire, the Provictim scale (for antibullying attitudes), an empathy scale (to evaluate empathy toward victims), the newly developed Self-Efficacy for Defending Scale, and items developed by the Finnish National Board of Education (for well-being at school).

Analyses were conducted using multilevel techniques to account for effects at individual, classroom, and school levels. Specifically, while analyses assessed change in individual students, the analyses accounted for clustering effects of classrooms, and the results were presented in terms of the impact of being in KiVa schools or the control schools. The program design treated the entire school as the “subject,” opting for many programming features that operated on the school climate.

Study 2
Kärnä and colleagues (2011b) used a quasi-experimental design and a cohort-longitudinal design with adjacent cohorts to evaluate program effects of the KiVa Antibullying Program in reducing school bullying and victimization in grades 1–9 in 2008. The target sample of schools comprised 1,450 students, after 2 years of recruitment. In the end, 888 schools remained in the study, with pretest and posttest measurements included in the analyses.

Each school had an average of 226 students, and 13 classrooms with 18 students per classroom. There was an equal ratio of boys (50 percent) to girls (49 percent), and students were mostly native Finns. Data was collected at two time points— August 2009 (T1), and May 2010/2011 (T2). The study authors used a web-based questionnaire that asked about bullying others, being bullied, reporting bullying, attitudes related to bullying, and classroom and school atmosphere.

Primary outcomes included self-reported victimization and self-reported bullying. Self-reported bullying/victimization were measured using the revised Olweus Bully/Victim questionnaire. Student response rates were lower at posttest than at pretest. It is possible that bullies and bully victims dropped out at higher rates, which would confound results. The authors did address this and conducted sensitivity analyses by imputing higher-outcome bullying scores for the missing cases.
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Cost

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The KiVa materials and training were provided to Finnish schools free of charge during the first two years of national diffusion (2009 and 2010).
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Implementation Information

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KiVa has developed comprehensive and detailed program manuals, consisting of a general implementation manual and three grade-specific manuals that include the curricula for grades 1, 4, and 7. The KiVa website also has resources for virtual training and provides access to Web-based questionnaires, the curricula, and the computer game for students: http://www.kivaprogram.net/
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Kärnä, Antti, Marinus Voeten, Todd D. Little, Elisa Poskiparta, Anne Kaljonen, and Christina Salmivalli. 2011a. “A Large-Scale Evaluation of the KiVa Antibullying Program: Grades 4–6.” Child Development 82(1):311–30.

Study 2
Kärnä, Antti, Marinus Voeten, Todd D. Little, Elisa Poskiparta, Erkki Alanen, and Christina Salmivalli. 2011b. "Going to Scale: A Nonrandomized Nationwide Trial of the KiVa Antibullying Program for Grades 1-9." Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 79(6):796-805.
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Kärnä, Antti, Marinus Voeten, Elisa Poskiparta, and Christina Salmivalli. 2010. “Vulnerable Children in Varying Classroom Contexts: Bystanders’ Behaviors Moderate the Effects of Risk Factors on Victimization.” Merrill–Palmer Quarterly 56(3):261–82.

Kärnä, Antti, Marinus Voeten, Todd D. Little, E. Alanen, Elisa Poskiparta, and Christina Salmivalli. 2013. “Effectiveness of the KiVa Antibullying Program: Grades 1–3 and 7–9.” Journal of Educational Psychology 105(2):535.

Nocentini, A., and E. Menesini. 2016. “KiVa Anti-Bullying Program in Italy: Evidence of Effectiveness in a Randomized Control Trial.” Prevention Science 17(8):1012–23.

Saarento, Silja, Aaron J. Boulton, and Christina Salmivalli. 2015. “Reducing Bullying and Victimization: Student- and Classroom-Level Mechanisms of Change.” Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 43(1):61–76.

Salmivalli, Christina, Kärnä, Antti, and Elisa Poskiparta. 2011. Counteracting Bullying in Finland: The KiVa Program and Its Effects on Different Forms of Being Bullied.” International Journal of Behavioral Development 35(5):405–11.

Salmivalli, Christina, and Elisa Poskiparta. 2012. “Making Bullying Prevention a Priority in Finnish Schools: The KiVa Antibullying Program.” New Directions for Youth Development 133:41–53.

Williford, Anne, Aaron J. Boulton, B. Noland, Todd D. Little, A. Kama, and Christina Salmivalli. 2012. “Effects of the KiVa Anti-Bullying Program on Adolescents’ Depression, Anxiety, and Perception of Peers.” Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 40(2):289–300.

Williford, Anne, Lawrence C. Elledge, Aaron J. Boulton, Kathryn DePaolis, Todd D. Little, and Christina Salmivalli. 2013. “Effects of the KiVa Antibullying Program on Cyberbullying and Cybervictimization Frequency Among Finnish Youth (Grades 4-6).” Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology 42(6):820–33.
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Related Practices

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Following are CrimeSolutions.gov-rated practices that are related to this program:

School-Based Bullying Prevention Programs
Aim to reduce bullying and victimization (being bullied) in school settings. Some interventions aim to increase positive involvement in the bullying situation from bystanders or witnesses. The practice is rated Effective for reducing bullying, bullying victimization, and for increasing the likelihood of a bystander to intervene. The practice is rated No Effects for increasing bystander empathy for victims of bullying.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Effective - More than one Meta-Analysis Juvenile Problem & At-Risk Behaviors - Bullying
Effective - More than one Meta-Analysis Victimization - Being Bullied
Effective - One Meta-Analysis Victimization - Bystander Intervention
No Effects - One Meta-Analysis Mental Health & Behavioral Health - Empathy for the Victim



Cyberbullying Prevention and Intervention Programs
This practice comprises intervention and prevention programs that are designed to reduce or prevent negative online behaviors among school-aged children ages 9 to 19. Programs include individual-level, multi-level systemic, and universal or whole-school approaches. This practice is rated Effective for reducing cyberbullying perpetration and victimization.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Effective - One Meta-Analysis Juvenile Problem & At-Risk Behaviors - Bullying
Effective - One Meta-Analysis Victimization - Cyberbullying victimization
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Program Snapshot

Age: 10 - 12

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: White

Geography: Rural, Suburban, Urban

Setting (Delivery): School

Program Type: Classroom Curricula, School/Classroom Environment, Victim Programs, Bullying Prevention/Intervention, Children Exposed to Violence

Targeted Population: Children Exposed to Violence

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: Child Exposure to Violence Evidence Based Guide, Model Programs Guide