The largest study of bullying prevention efforts in U.S. schools has revealed significant, sustained positive impacts from the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP).
Researchers at Clemson University and the University of Bergen in Norway evaluated nearly 70,000 students across 210 elementary, middle and high schools in Pennsylvania over two years. A companion analysis assessed year-to-year changes in a subset of 95 schools over three years. The research documented clear reductions in student reports of being bullied and bullying others. Overall, the results were stronger the longer the program was in place.
Susan Limber, a lead author on the study and professor in Clemson University’s Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life, told South Carolina Radio Network that the program reaches into many areas. “At the individual level working ono on one with kids who are bullied and kids who bully others that’s part of it, but there are school-wide interventions that really touch everybody at the school.”
Limber said the examination of a wide range of age groups was a unique feature of the study. She said it is rare for a single evaluation to study elementary, middle and high school students, and to be able to examine program effects over the course of multiple years.
“There are classroom level interventions to get kids talking about bullying and peer relations and parents are actively involved in the program as well,” said Limber.
The research, which will be published in August 2018 in the Journal of School Psychology, can be accessed online here. It was funded with support from the Highmark Foundation.