Cover page

Table of Contents


Title page

Copyright page

Editorial Board

Issue Editors’ Notes

Executive Summary

Chapter One: Bullying in schools: What is the problem, and how can educators solve it?

Chapter Two: The Bernese Program against Victimization in Kindergarten and Elementary School

Chapter Three: The Zero program

Chapter Four: Making bullying prevention a priority in Finnish schools: The KiVa antibullying program

Chapter Five: School-based prevention of bullying and relational aggression in adolescence: The fairplayer.manual

Chapter Six: ViSC Social Competence Program

Chapter Seven: Risk and protective factors, longitudinal research, and bullying prevention

Chapter 1: Bullying in schools: What is the problem, and how can educators solve it?

What is bullying, and how can educators learn to detect it?

How can educators best respond to bullying situations?

How can educators prevent bullying in the long run?

Chapter 2: The Bernese Program against Victimization in Kindergarten and Elementary School

Main theoretical ideas

Program elements and the implementation model

Evaluation results


Chapter 3: The Zero program

Zero program content

Implementation strategy

Research on the Zero program

Research related to program implementation

Program effects over time

The way forward

Chapter 4: Making bullying prevention a priority in Finnish schools: The KiVa antibullying program

Research background and goals of KiVa

Program elements and implementation model

Evaluation results

Chapter 5: School-based prevention of bullying and relational aggression in adolescence: The fairplayer.manual

Main theoretical ideas and target groups

Program elements and implementation model

Brief summary of evaluation results


Further development of the program and additional information

Chapter 6: ViSC Social Competence Program

Goals and target groups of the ViSC program

Bridging research and practice

The implementation process in the schools

The teacher training

The class project

Evaluation studies of the class project

Large-scale evaluation of the ViSC school program

Chapter 7: Risk and protective factors, longitudinal research, and bullying prevention

Adverse outcomes for children involved in school bullying

Current research on bullying prevention

Risk and protective factors for school bullying and its negative effects

Protective factors in new antibullying initiatives: Some examples


Chapter 8: Resources



Gil G. Noam, Editor-in-Chief

Harvard University and McLean Hospital

Editorial Board

K. Anthony Appiah
Princeton University
Princeton, N.J.

Dale A. Blyth
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minn.

Dante Cicchetti
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minn.

William Damon
Stanford University
Palo Alto, Calif.

Goéry Delacôte
At-Bristol Science Museum
Bristol, England

Felton Earls
Harvard Medical School
Boston, Mass.

Jacquelynne S. Eccles
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Mich.

Wolfgang Edelstein
Max Planck Institute for Human Development
Berlin, Germany

Kurt Fischer
Harvard Graduate School of Education
Cambridge, Mass.

Carol Gilligan
New York University Law School
New York, N.Y.

Robert Granger
W. T. Grant Foundation
New York, N.Y.

Ira Harkavy
University of Philadelphia
Philadelphia, Penn.

Reed Larson
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Urbana-Champaign, Ill.

Richard Lerner
Tufts University
Medford, Mass.

Milbrey W. McLaughlin
Stanford University
Stanford, Calif.

Pedro Noguera
New York University
New York, N.Y.

Fritz Oser
University of Fribourg
Fribourg, Switzerland

Karen Pittman
The Forum for Youth Investment
Washington, D.C.

Jane Quinn
The Children’s Aid Society
New York, N.Y.

Jean Rhodes
University of Massachusetts, Boston
Boston, Mass.

Rainer Silbereisen
University of Jena
Jena, Germany

Elizabeth Stage
University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley, Calif.

Hans Steiner
Stanford Medical School
Stanford, Calif.

Carola Suárez-Orozco
New York University
New York, N.Y.

Marcelo Suárez-Orozco
New York University
New York, N.Y.

Erin Cooney, Editorial Manager

Program in Education, Afterschool and Resiliency (PEAR)

Issue Editors’ Notes

THERE EXISTS AMPLE evidence that a substantial number of children and youth experience, at least temporarily, bullying in school.1 Bullying is understood to be an interaction between at least two people during which a somehow stronger person (or group) gains power over a weaker person who is not able to defend himself or herself.2 As the bullying process unfolds over time, the power imbalance increases.3 Too many young people are chronically involved in bullying as victim, perpetrator, or bystander. Research suggests that bullying roles are moderately stable in preadolescents and adolescents but change a lot in children.4 Research shows that youth involved in bullying have plenty of intrapersonal, interpersonal, and academic problems.5 Clearly, stopping bullying in schools is of the highest importance.

Over the past two decades, prevention and intervention programs have been developed by research teams all over the world. Most of these programs have been rigorously evaluated, with strict criteria of evidence used, and many of them are available for schools.6 Research has also demonstrated that many of these programs are effective.7 The articles in this volume introduce five examples of evidence-based antibullying programs that were developed in European countries. The program descriptions cover their program goals, main underlying theoretical ideas, program elements, implementation model, and a brief summary of evaluation results.

We hope that educators will find these articles helpful for choosing evidence-based approaches to stop bullying in their schools.

Dagmar Strohmeier
Gil G. Noam
Issue Editors


1. Currie, C., Roberts, C., Morgan, A., Smith, R., Settertobulte, W., Samdal, O., & Barnekow, V. (2004). Young people’s health in context. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.

2. Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying at school: What we know and what we can do. Oxford, UK: Blackwell; Roland, E. (1989). A system oriented strategy against bullying. In E. Roland & E. Munthe (Eds.), Bullying: An international perspective. London, UK: David Fulton.

3. Pepler, D. (2006). Bullying interventions: A binocular perspective. Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 15(1), 16–20.

4. Camodeca, M., Goossens, F. A., Terwogt, M. M., & Schuengel, C. (2002). Bullying and victimization among school-age children: Stability and links to proactive and reactive aggression. Social Development, 11, 332–345; Juvonen, J., Nishina, A., & Graham, S. (2000). Peer harassment, psychological adjustment, and school functioning in early adolescence. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92, 349–359; Kochenderfer-Ladd, B. (2003). Identification of aggressive and asocial victims and the stability of their peer victimization. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 49, 401–425; Monks, C. P., Smith, P. K., & Swettenham, J. (2003). Aggressors, victims, and defenders in preschool: Peer, self-, and teacher reports. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 49, 453–469; Smith, P. K., Talamelli, L., Cowie, H., Naylor, P., & Chauhan, P. (2004). Profiles of non-victims, escaped victims, continuing victims and new victims of school bullying. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 74, 565–581.

5. Hawker, D., & Boulton, M. (2000). Twenty years’ research on peer victimization and psychosocial maladjustment: A meta-analytic review of cross-sectional studies. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 41, 441–455; Connolly, J., Nocentini, A., Menesini, E., Pepler, D., Craig, W., & Williams, T. (2010). Adolescent dating aggression in Canada and Italy: A cross national comparison. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 34, 98–105; Williams, T., Connolly, J., Pepler, D., Craig, W., & Laporte, L. (2008). Risk models of dating aggression across different adolescent relationships: A developmental psychopathology approach. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76, 622–632.

6. Flay, B. R., Biglan, A., Boruch, R. F., Castro, F. G., Gottfredson, D., Kellam, S., … Ji, P. (2005). Standards of evidence: Criteria for efficacy, effectiveness, and dissemination. Prevention Science, 6, 151–175.

7. Ttofi, M. M., & Farrington, D. P. (2011). Effectiveness of school-based programs to reduce bullying: A systematic and meta-analytic review. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 7, 27–56.

DAGMAR STROHMEIER is a professor at the School of Health/Social Sciences at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Linz, Austria.

GIL G. NOAM is an associate professor at McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Executive Summary

Chapter One: Bullying in schools: What is the problem, and how can educators solve it?

Dagmar Strohmeier, Gil G. Noam

This chapter reviews recent research on bullying from an educator’s perspective. It is well known that bullying, a serious issue in schools, can be prevented when educators intervene. But research has shown that it is difficult for educators to detect bullying situations in their school and intervene competently and effectively. This chapter examines how educators can detect bullying, how they can best tackle serious cases of bullying, and how they can best prevent bullying in the long run.

Chapter Two: The Bernese Program against Victimization in Kindergarten and Elementary School

Françoise D. Alsaker, Stefan Valkanover

The Bernese Program against Victimization in Kindergarten and Elementary School was designed to be adaptable to the very different situations and needs encountered by teachers in kindergarten and elementary school. The basic principle of the program is to enhance teachers’ ability to address bullying. The program consists of six modules, each corresponding to a specific topic. Teachers are urged to implement the tasks discussed during the meetings in their own classes during the time between the meetings. The program has been evaluated using a prevention-control pre- and posttest design. The informants were teachers as well as children. There was a significant interaction between time (pre- and posttest) and group (prevention and control) as to victimization. Changes in teachers’ attitudes toward bullying and their ability to cope with such problems were also significant and in the expected direction.

Chapter Three: The Zero program

Erling Roland, Unni Vere Midthassel

Zero is a schoolwide antibullying program developed by the Centre for Behavioural Research at the University of Stavanger, Norway. It is based on three main principles: a zero vision of bullying, collective commitment among all employees at the school using the program, and continuing work. Based on these principles, the program aims to reduce student bullying by increasing the school’s ability to uncover and stop bullying, and eventually to prevent it. The Zero program was launched in 2003, but the work that led to it goes back to the first national steps against bullying in 1983. The program extends over sixteen months as teachers develop their awareness of bullying and their competence in addressing it. Students and parents are involved in the program as well. The role of the school leadership is very important. More than 360 Norwegian schools have carried out the program.

Chapter Four: Making bullying prevention a priority in Finnish schools: The KiVa antibullying program

Christina Salmivalli, Elisa Poskiparta

The KiVa antibullying program has been widely implemented in Finnish comprehensive schools since 2009. The program is predicated on the idea that a positive change in the behaviors of classmates can reduce the rewards gained by the perpetrators of bullying and consequently their motivation to bully in the first place. KiVa involves both universal and bullying specific actions to prevent the emergence of new cases of bullying, stop ongoing bullying, and reduce the negative consequences of victimization. The program has been evaluated in a randomized controlled trial involving 234 Finnish schools and during broad dissemination across Finnish schools (the evaluation involving almost one thousand schools) with positive findings. The program content and the implementation model are presented in this article, and the findings from the evaluation studies are summarized.

Chapter Five: School-based prevention of bullying and relational aggression in adolescence: The fairplayer.manual

Herbert Scheithauer, Markus Hess, Anja Schultze-Krumbholz, Heike Dele Bull

The fairplayer.manual is a school-based program to prevent bullying. The program consists of fifteen to seventeen consecutive ninety-minute lessons using cognitive-behavioral methods, methods targeting group norms and group dynamics, and discussions on moral dilemmas. Following a two-day training session, teachers, together with skilled fairplayer.teamers, implement fairplayer.manual in the classroom during regular school lessons. This chapter offers a summary of the program’s conception and underlying prevention theory and summarizes the results from two evaluation studies. Standardized questionnaires showed a positive impact of the intervention program on several outcome variables.

Chapter Six: ViSC Social Competence Program

Dagmar Strohmeier, Christine Hoffmann, Eva-Maria Schiller, Elisabeth Stefanek, Christiane Spiel

The ViSC Social Competence Program has been implemented in Austrian schools within the scope of a national strategy plan, Together Against Violence. The program is a primary preventive program designed for grades 5 to 8. The prevention of aggression and bullying is defined as a school development task, and the initial implementation of the program lasts one school year. The program consists of universal and specific actions that are implemented through in-school teacher training and a class project for students. The program was evaluated with a randomized intervention control group design. Data were collected from teachers and students. Results suggest that the program reduces aggression in schools.

Chapter Seven: Risk and protective factors, longitudinal research, and bullying prevention

Maria M. Ttofi, David P. Farrington

This chapter presents the results from two systematic/meta-analytic reviews of longitudinal studies on the association of school bullying (perpetration and victimization) with adverse health and criminal outcomes later in life. Significant associations between the two predictors and the outcomes are found even after controlling for other major childhood risk factors that are measured before school bullying. The results indicate that effective antibullying programs should be encouraged. They could be viewed as a form of early crime prevention as well as an early form of public health promotion. The findings from a systematic/meta-analytic review on the effectiveness of antibullying programs are also presented. Overall, school-based antibullying programs are effective, leading to an average decrease in bullying of 20 to 23 percent and in victimization of 17 to 20 percent. The chapter emphasizes the lack of prospective longitudinal research in the area of school bullying, which does not allow examination of whether any given factor (individual, family,. or social) is a correlate, a predictor, or a possible cause for bullying. This has important implications for future antibullying initiatives, as well as implications for the refinement of theories of school bullying. It is necessary to extend the framework of the traditional risk-focused approach by incorporating the notion of resiliency and investigating possible protective factors against school bullying and its negative consequences.


Bullying in schools: What is the problem, and how can educators solve it?

Dagmar Strohmeier, Gil G. Noam

Educators need strategies to detect bullying in their schools and need to be able to apply effective interventions.

BULLYING IS A serious problem in schools, and many bullying episodes among students could be stopped as soon as they start if educators intervened. These interventions are, however, rare or ineffective.1 Teachers are usually not present when bullying occurs and are often never told about the incidents. Researchers found that only 30 to 50 percent of self-reported victims told a teacher about the bullying. But even when teachers directly observe bullying, their actions to stop the incidents are not always successful.2 Therefore, it is crucial that educators learn (1) how to detect bullying in their schools and programs, (2) how to distinguish light cases from serious ones and how to best intervene differentially with bullies, victims, and bystanders, and (3) how to best prevent bullying in the first place.

This issue of New Directions for Youth Development