The present study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the KiVa anti-bullying program in Italy through a randomized control trial of students in grades 4 and 6. The sample involved 2042 students (51 % female; grade 4, mean age = 8.85; ds = 0.43; grade 6, mean age = 10.93; ds = 0.50); 13 comprehensive schools were randomly assigned into intervention (KiVa) or control (usual school provision) conditions. Different outcomes (bullying, victimization, pro-bullying attitudes, pro-victim attitudes, empathy toward victims), analyses (longitudinal mixed model with multiple-item scales; longitudinal prevalence of bullies and victims using Olweus’ single question), and estimates of effectiveness (Cohen’s d; odds ratios) were considered in order to compare the Italian results with those from other countries. Multilevel models showed that KiVa reduced bullying and victimization and increased pro-victim attitudes and empathy toward the victim in grade 4, with effect sizes from 0.24 to 0.40. In grade 6, KiVa reduced bullying, victimization, and pro-bullying attitudes; the effects were smaller as compared to grade 4, yet significant (d ≥ 0.20). Finally, using Olweus dichotomous definition of bullies and victims, results showed that the odds of being a victim were 1.93 times higher for a control student than for a KiVa student in grade 4. Overall, the findings provide evidence of the effectiveness of the program in Italy; the discussion will focus on factors that influenced successfully the transportability of the KiVa program in Italy.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 3, 2016
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