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Is less enough? An evaluation of steps to respect: A bullying prevention program in a rural school

1 January 2016


Despite nationwide efforts to reduce school bullying in the United States in the past two decades (Cornell & Limber, 2015), some researchers argue that there is a paucity of evidence supporting the efficacy of bullying prevention programs (Institutes of Medicine and National Research Council, 2014). This study was an evaluation of Steps to Respect: A Bullying Prevention Program (Committee for Children, 2001) using a third grade class from a rural Northwest elementary school. At pretest, posttest, and follow-up, the classroom teacher completed measures assessing social competence and students completed measures assessing attitudes and behaviors that support bullying. Results revealed that males and females showed significantly greater levels of social competence over time, but reductions in bullying-related attitudes and behaviors were less robust. As full program implementation was not conducted due to time and resource constraints, some of these findings were expected. However, based on student and teacher perspectives gathered at the end of the program, there was enhanced student awareness and knowledge about bullying and teacher confidence in coaching students in bullying situations. Future researchers should focus on determining which program elements are most instrumental in producing positive changes in prevention programs as well as using longitudinal work to assess program efficacy and sustainability, even in less-than-ideal implementation conditions.


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