Effects of a school-wide anti-bullying program: Empower both students and teachers!

Marloes van Verseveld, Minne Fekkes, Ruben Fukkink, Ron Oostdam

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Effects of the Prima anti-bullying program on victimization, classroom peer context and defending behavior Marloes van Verseveld, Minne Fekkes, Ruben Fukkink & Ron Oostdam Background and aims Victimization among children is associated with adverse effects on their physical and psychological health and many schools attempt to reduce bullying. The Dutch school-wide anti-bullying program ‘Prima’ was developed based on techniques and scientific insights that are known to be effective. We investigate the effects of the Prima anti-bullying program on students’ victimization, defending behavior, and the classroom peer context in Grades 3-6. Methods The study participants included 4,368 students from 32 primary schools. The schools were randomly assigned to three conditions. Condition A was offered a teacher-training, an online screening tool for bullying behavior, and a set of practice- and evidence-based guidelines to deal with difficult bullying situations. Condition B included all of condition A plus a series of eight student lessons. Condition C was the control group. A questionnaire was filled out by the students before and after the intervention. Program effects were based on self- and peer-reports. Results Prima reduced students’ peer-reported victimization and the level of isolated students in the classroom. Students in the intervention conditions also reported significantly higher levels of self-efficacy to defend victimized students in their classroom compared to students in the control condition. A trend effect of Prima was observed for students who were nominated as defender of victimized students by peers. The intervention condition with student lessons showed larger effects. Conclusions Our results suggest that Prima reduced victimization in intervention schools, especially in intervention schools that provided student lessons about bullying. The positive outcomes support previous findings on the effectiveness of Prima. Furthermore, our study underlines the importance to include student lessons in whole school anti-bullying programs that focus on creating a positive group norm and pro-social and defending behaviors.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2019
Event19th European Conference on Development Psychology - Athens, Greece
Duration: 29 Aug 20191 Sept 2019


Conference19th European Conference on Development Psychology
Internet address


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