Program

Steps to Respect Bullying Prevention Program

Jun 11, 2013

OVERVIEW

The Steps to Respect bullying prevention program is a universal school-wide intervention that aims to decrease bullying by increasing both bullying awareness in school staff and students and also socio-emotional skills in students.  The program involves training for school staff to improve awareness and responsiveness to bullying problems and a classroom curriculum designed to provide students with the social skills to successfully mediate conflict in bullying situations.  An experimental evaluation found that the program was effective in increasing agreeable social interactions, students’ feelings of responsibility in bullying situations involving peers, and students’ perceptions of school staff’s responsiveness to bullying.  The program was also found to decrease bullying behavior, acceptance of bullying behavior, and perpetration of exclusionary gossip. However, there was no impact on being the victim of bullying or exclusionary gossip.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Elementary school students in grades 3-6

Steps to Respect is a universal school-wide program with school-level and classroom-level components. It aims to decrease bullying, including relational aggression, by increase staff’s awareness of bullying and responsiveness to it and by teaching students social-emotional skills. The school-level component involves an instructional session for all staff  on program goals and content and two in-depth training sessions for all counselors, administrators, and teachers that focus on how to effectively monitor students and intervene in bullying situations. The classroom-level component consists of an 11-lesson curriculum that occurs over the course of 12-14 weeks. The weekly lessons are taught over 2-3 days, and each lesson is approximately 50 minutes to an hour. There are three levels of the curriculum: one for students in grades 3 or 4, one for students in grades 4 or 5, and one for students in grades 5 or 6. The lessons focus on identifying various types of bullying, providing guidelines for non-aggressive, social responsible responses to bullying, training on assertiveness, empathy, and emotion regulation, and practicing friendship skills and conflict resolution. After the completion of the curriculum lessons, literature-based lessons are used to emphasize empathy. There is also a component for engaging parents. Parents are provided with information on policies and the program and are also sent letters that outline the concepts and skills from the curriculum and describe activities that can be used at home to support what the students are learning in school.

As of 2013, the program could be purchased for $859.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Study 1

Frey, K. S., Hirschstein, M. K., Snell, J. L., Edstrom, L. V. S., MacKenzie, E. P., & Broderick, C. J. (2005).  Reducing playground bullying and supporting beliefs: An experimental trial of the Steps to Respect program.  Developmental Psychology, 41, 479-491.

Evaluated population: A total of 1,126 students in grades 3-6 attending six elementary schools in suburban areas of the northwest were evaluated.  The study population was percent African-American, 12.7 percent Asian, 7 percent Hispanic, 1.3 percent Native American, and 70 percent Caucasian.  The sample was 49 percent female. In the schools that participated in the study, 11.5 percent of the students were in ESL programs, and 21-60 percent of the students were receiving free or reduced-price lunches. This sample represented the 64 percent of the students in the participating schools who had parental consent to participate in the study.

Approach: Six elementary schools were matched for background variables, and then schools in each pair were randomly assigned to either a Step to Respect treatment intervention or a control group waiting condition.  In the treatment condition, school staff were trained in the bullying prevention program and, later that same year, students received 12-14 weeks of classroom lessons.  Students in the control condition followed their school’s regular curriculum and received no additional treatments.  Students in grades 3 and 4 received the Level I version of the program while students in grades 5 and 6 received program Levels II and III.  There were 36 experimental and 36 control classrooms.  Data were collected at baseline and post-test through teacher ratings of peer interaction skills, student surveys of beliefs and behavior, and playground observations. Playground observations were conducted for 610 randomly selected students.

Results: Students in the Steps to Respect treatment condition were found to be less accepting of bullying than students in control groups.  Students in treatment conditions also felt more responsibility to help others with bullying problems and believed that school staff were more responsive to bullying problems.  Students in the control condition were more likely to report bullying other students compared to students in the treatment condition.  Reductions in bullying were concentrated among students who bullied at the time of the pre-test.  However, no differences were found in victimization by bullying.  Students in the treatment condition were observed by two trained coders to have more agreeable social interactions and fewer argumentative social interactions with peers compared with students in the control condition.

Study 2

Low, S., Frey, K.S., & Brockman, C.J. (2010). Gossip on the playground: Changes associated with universal intervention, retaliation beliefs, and supportive friends. School Psychology Review, 39, 536-551.

Evaluated population: The overall evaluated population is the same as in Study 1. This study only presents the results of playground observations of exclusionary gossip. The sample is the 610 students who were randomly selected for observations of playground behavior. The gender breakdown for this sample is similar to that of the overall study population (49 % female).

Approach: See Study 1 for randomization procedures. Playground observations were conducted once a week for 2.5 months in the fall (before the intervention began) and in the spring (after the completion of the intervention).

Results: Reductions in exclusionary gossip over time were larger for those in the intervention group, compared with those in the control group. Subgroup analyses that separated students that gossiped at baseline from those that did not, found that the intervention was only effective for reducing gossip among those who gossiped at baseline, and there were no differences between groups for those who did not gossip at baseline. The intervention had no impact on being the target of gossip.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

Link to program curriculum: http://www.cfchildren.org/steps-to-respect.aspx

References

Frey, K. S., Hirschstein, M. K., Snell, J. L., Edstrom, L. V. S., MacKenzie, E. P., & Broderick, C. J. (2005).  Reducing playground bullying and supporting beliefs: An experimental trial of the Steps to Respect program.  Developmental Psychology, 41, 479-491.

Low, S., Frey, K.S., & Brockman, C.J. (2010). Gossip on the playground: Changes associated with universal intervention, retaliation beliefs, and supportive friends. School Psychology Review, 39, 536-551.

KEYWORDS: Children (3-11), School-Based, Elementary School, Helping Behavior/Social Responsibility, Social Skills, Bullying, African American or Black, Caucasian or White, Asian, Suburban, Skills Training, Parent or Family Component, Males and Females, Manual, Cost.

Program information last updated 6/11/13.

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