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Steps to Respect: A Bullying Prevention Program

Steps to Respect: A Bullying Prevention Program is a schoolwide intervention designed to prevent bullying behavior and counter the personal and social effects of bullying where it occurs by promoting a positive school climate. Based on the premise that intervening early in the developmental stages of children most strongly impacts risk and protective factors, the program is designed for use with students in grades 3-6, and collaboration within the entire school community (including administrators, counselors, and teachers) is inherent in the model. Specifically, the program aims to (1) increase school staff's awareness and responsiveness to bullying situations, (2) foster socially responsible beliefs among students, (3) enhance social and emotional skills to counter bullying and to promote healthy relationships, (4) promote actions (e.g., joining groups, resolving conflict) associated with general social competence, and (5) reduce bullying (and related problems) and improve positive bystander behavior. The program has three components:

  • Schoolwide program guide. This component involves the entire school in the effort to reduce bullying behaviors and to positively modify school climate so that it is more protective. School administrators and staff establish schoolwide bullying policies and procedures (including discipline) that are designed to prevent problems, and staff intervene early when problems develop.
  • Staff training. Through this component, school staff are trained to recognize bullying and respond effectively to students' reports of bullying behavior. All school staff are provided with a 3-hour overview of program goals and key features of the program content. Teachers, counselors, and administrators receive an additional 1.5-hour training on how to coach students involved in bullying episodes. Third- through sixth-grade teachers, who deliver the classroom curriculum, also receive a 2-hour overview of classroom materials and lesson-specific instructional strategies.
  • Classroom curriculum. This component consists of 11 skill- and literature-based lessons presented over 12-14 weeks. There are three grade-based levels of curricula: level 1, for third- or fourth-grade students; level 2, for fourth- or fifth-grade students; and level 3, for fifth- or sixth-grade students. Each lesson is approximately 50 minutes long and applies cognitive-behavioral techniques to promote socially responsible norms and foster social and emotional skills. Specific techniques are used to help students identify various forms of bullying; provide students with a rationale and clear guidelines for socially responsible actions and nonaggressive responses to bullying that reduce chances of continued victimization; train students in assertiveness, empathy, and emotion regulation skills; and allow students to practice friendship skills and conflict resolution. Lessons also include techniques to teach students when and how to report bullying to adults.

Descriptive Information

Areas of Interest Mental health promotion
Outcomes Review Date: May 2013
1: Student climate
2: Student social competency
3: Bullying behaviors
4: School bullying-related problems
5: Bystander behavior
Outcome Categories Environmental change
Social functioning
Violence
Ages 6-12 (Childhood)
Genders Male
Female
Races/Ethnicities Asian
Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino
White
Race/ethnicity unspecified
Settings School
Geographic Locations Urban
Suburban
Rural and/or frontier
Implementation History Steps to Respect: A Bullying Prevention Program was first implemented in schools in 2001. Since then, it has been purchased by 3,600 entities, including school districts and regional education organizations that are implementing the program in multiple school sites. Approximately 6.72 million elementary students have participated in Steps to Respect in all 50 U.S. States, Guam, Puerto Rico, and 18 Armed Forces locations. Internationally, it has been implemented in all Canadian provinces and territories and in Australia, Brazil, the Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.
NIH Funding/CER Studies Partially/fully funded by National Institutes of Health: No
Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies: No
Adaptations No population- or culture-specific adaptations of the intervention were identified by the developer.
Adverse Effects No adverse effects, concerns, or unintended consequences were identified by the developer.
IOM Prevention Categories Universal

Quality of Research
Review Date: May 2013

Documents Reviewed

The documents below were reviewed for Quality of Research. The research point of contact can provide information regarding the studies reviewed and the availability of additional materials, including those from more recent studies that may have been conducted.

Study 1

Brown, E. C., Low, S., Smith, B. H., & Haggerty, K. P. (2011). Outcomes from a school-randomized controlled trial of Steps to Respect: A Bullying Prevention Program. School Psychology Review, 40(3), 423-443.

Outcomes

Outcome 1: Student climate
Description of Measures Student climate was assessed using the following:

  • The 4-item Student Climate scale of the Student Survey, which is a revised version of the Colorado Trust's Bullying Prevention Initiative Student Survey. The Student Survey is a paper-and-pencil survey that contains 65 items for students and captures information on the school environment. Using a scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 4 (strongly agree), students rate the 4 items in the Student Climate scale regarding their perceptions, since the beginning of the school year, of their school's climate regarding trust, willingness to help, and cooperation among students.
  • The 4-item Student Climate scale of the School Environment Survey (SES), which was adapted for the study from the Colorado Trust's Bullying Prevention Initiative Student Survey. The SES is a paper-and-pencil survey that contains 36 items for school staff and captures information on the school environment. Using a scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 4 (strongly agree), school staff rate the 4 items in the Student Climate scale regarding their perceptions, since the beginning of the school year, of their school's climate regarding trust, willingness to help, and cooperation among students.
In both the Student Survey and the SES, the Student Climate scale score is calculated from the average rating of the 4 scale items. Higher scores indicate a more positive student climate.
Key Findings A study was conducted with students and staff (i.e., paid and volunteer staff, including administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, support staff, custodial and cafeteria personnel, and bus drivers) from elementary schools that were matched on school demographic characteristics and randomly assigned to the intervention condition or the wait-list control condition. Results of the study indicated the following:

  • From pre- to posttest, the Student Climate scale score from the Student Survey increased in the intervention schools and decreased in the wait-list control schools (p < .05). This finding is associated with a very small effect size (Cohen's d = 0.19).
  • From pre- to posttest, the Student Climate scale score from the SES increased in the intervention schools and decreased in the wait-list control schools (p < .01). This finding is associated with a small effect size (Cohen's d = 0.21).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 2.9 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 2: Student social competency
Description of Measures Student social competency was assessed using the 5-item Social Competency scale of the Teacher Assessment of Student Behavior (TASB). The TASB is a 20-item online survey that captures information on students' classroom behavior, scholastic aptitudes, and demographics, and teachers complete a separate TASB for each student in their class. Using a scale ranging from 1 (never) to 5 (always), teachers rate the 5 items in the Social Competency scale regarding their perceptions, since the beginning of the school year, of each student's competency in interpersonal social skills (e.g., getting along with classmates, working cooperatively with other students). The Social Competency scale score is calculated from the average rating of the 5 scale items. Higher scores indicate greater social competency.
Key Findings A study was conducted with students and staff (i.e., paid and volunteer staff, including administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, support staff, custodial and cafeteria personnel, and bus drivers) from elementary schools that were matched on school demographic characteristics and randomly assigned to the intervention condition or the wait-list control condition. From pre- to posttest, the Social Competency scale score increased in the intervention schools and decreased in the wait-list control schools (p < .05). This finding is associated with a very small effect size (Cohen's d = 0.13).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 2.9 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 3: Bullying behaviors
Description of Measures Bullying behaviors of students were assessed using the 4-item Physical Bullying Perpetration scale and the 4-item Nonphysical Bullying scale of the Teacher Assessment of Student Behavior (TASB). The TASB is a 20-item online survey that captures information on students' classroom behavior, scholastic aptitudes, and demographics, and teachers complete a separate TASB for each student in their class. Using a scale ranging from 1 (never) to 5 (always), teachers rate the items in the Physical Bullying Perpetration scale and the Nonphysical Bullying scale regarding their perceptions, since the beginning of the school year, of each student's physical and nonphysical bullying behaviors (e.g., "pushed, shoved, or tripped a weaker student," "spread rumors about another student"). The Physical Bullying Perpetration and Nonphysical Bullying scale scores are calculated from the average ratings of the 4 items in each scale. Higher scores indicate more bullying behaviors.
Key Findings A study was conducted with students and staff (i.e., paid and volunteer staff, including administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, support staff, custodial and cafeteria personnel, and bus drivers) from elementary schools that were matched on school demographic characteristics and randomly assigned to the intervention condition or the wait-list control condition. Although the Physical Bullying Perpetration scale score increased from pre- to posttest in both the intervention and wait-list control schools, the increase was smaller in the intervention schools (p < .01). There was no significant difference between the intervention and wait-list control schools in the overall Nonphysical Bullying scale score.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 2.9 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 4: School bullying-related problems
Description of Measures School bullying-related problems were assessed using the 7-item School Bullying-Related Problems scale of the School Environment Survey (SES), which was adapted for the study from the Colorado Trust's Bullying Prevention Initiative Student Survey. The SES is a paper-and-pencil survey that contains 36 items for school staff and captures information on the school environment. Using a scale ranging from 1 (not a problem) to 4 (a huge problem), school staff rate the 7 items in the School Bullying-Related Problems scale regarding their perceptions, since the beginning of the school year, of bullying-related problems among students in their school (e.g., "How big of a problem in your school is students spreading rumors or lies about students they are mad at or don't like?"). The School Bullying-Related Problems scale score is calculated from the average rating of the 7 scale items. Lower scores indicate fewer school bullying-related problems.
Key Findings A study was conducted with students and staff (i.e., paid and volunteer staff, including administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, support staff, custodial and cafeteria personnel, and bus drivers) from elementary schools that were matched on school demographic characteristics and randomly assigned to the intervention condition or the wait-list control condition. Although the School Bullying-Related Problems scale score from the SES decreased from pre- to posttest in both the intervention and wait-list control schools, the decrease was greater in the intervention schools (p < .01). This finding is associated with a small effect size (Cohen's d = 0.35).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.0 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 5: Bystander behavior
Description of Measures Bystander behavior was assessed using the 5-item Positive Bystander Behavior scale of the Student Survey, which is a revised version of the Colorado Trust's Bullying Prevention Initiative Student Survey. The Student Survey is a paper-and-pencil survey that contains 65 items for students and captures information on the school environment. Using a scale ranging from 1 (never) to 5 (a lot), students rate appropriate bullying bystander behaviors (e.g., "I tried to defend students who always get pushed or shoved around"). The Positive Bystander Behavior scale score is calculated from the average rating of the 5 scale items. Higher scores indicate more positive bystander behavior.
Key Findings A study was conducted with students and staff (i.e., paid and volunteer staff, including administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, support staff, custodial and cafeteria personnel, and bus drivers) from elementary schools that were matched on school demographic characteristics and randomly assigned to the intervention condition or the wait-list control condition. From pre- to posttest, the intervention schools had a greater increase in the Positive Bystander Behavior scale score from the Student Survey compared with the wait-list control schools (p < .05). This finding is associated with a very small effect size (Cohen's d = 0.14).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 2.9 (0.0-4.0 scale)

Study Populations

The following populations were identified in the studies reviewed for Quality of Research.

Study Age Gender Race/Ethnicity
Study 1 6-12 (Childhood) 51% Male
49% Female
52% White
42% Hispanic or Latino
35% Race/ethnicity unspecified
7% Black or African American
6% Asian

Quality of Research Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the Quality of Research for an intervention's reported results using six criteria:

  1. Reliability of measures
  2. Validity of measures
  3. Intervention fidelity
  4. Missing data and attrition
  5. Potential confounding variables
  6. Appropriateness of analysis

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Quality of Research.

Outcome Reliability
of Measures
Validity
of Measures
Fidelity Missing
Data/Attrition
Confounding
Variables
Data
Analysis
Overall
Rating
1: Student climate 2.0 2.6 2.5 3.8 3.0 3.8 2.9
2: Student social competency 2.3 2.0 2.5 3.8 3.0 3.8 2.9
3: Bullying behaviors 2.3 2.0 2.5 3.8 3.0 3.8 2.9
4: School bullying-related problems 2.0 2.8 2.5 3.8 3.0 3.8 3.0
5: Bystander behavior 2.0 2.5 2.5 3.8 3.0 3.8 2.9

Study Strengths

Fidelity of implementation was measured by self-reported data that were systematically collected through the teachers' use of the online program implementation log; these data indicated that 92% of the teachers covered all program objectives and that 75% of the students were exposed to 95% of the lessons. The study had low attrition. Imputation analyses accounted for missing data. Participating schools were selected and matched on the basis of socioeconomic and racial/ethnic diversity, then randomly assigned to the intervention or wait-list control condition. The study used appropriate analyses, and sample size and power were adequate.

Study Weaknesses

Psychometrics were not provided for the modified versions of known outcome instruments. Fidelity data were not collected through a method other than teacher self-report (e.g., by independent observers), and a validated fidelity instrument was not used.

Readiness for Dissemination
Review Date: May 2013

Materials Reviewed

The materials below were reviewed for Readiness for Dissemination. The implementation point of contact can provide information regarding implementation of the intervention and the availability of additional, updated, or new materials.

Committee for Children Web site, http://www.cfchildren.org

Level 1 curriculum kit (for grade 3 or 4):

  • Bruchac, J. (1997). Eagle song. New York, NY: Yearling.
  • Committee for Children. (2005). Assertiveness steps [Poster]. Seattle, WA: Author.
  • Committee for Children. (2005). Bystander power [Poster]. Seattle, WA: Author.
  • Committee for Children. (2005). Joining [Poster]. Seattle, WA: Author.
  • Committee for Children. (2005). Recognizing bullying [Poster]. Seattle, WA: Author.
  • Committee for Children. (2005). Reporting isn't tattling [Poster]. Seattle, WA: Author.
  • Committee for Children. (2005). Steps to Respect: A Bullying Prevention Program. Classroom video: Grade 3 or 4 [DVD]. Seattle, WA: Author.
  • Committee for Children. (2005). Steps to Respect: A Bullying Prevention Program. Level 1: Teacher's guide and skill lessons: Grade 3 or 4. Seattle, WA: Author.
  • Committee for Children. (2005). Steps to Respect: A Bullying Prevention Program. Literature unit: Eagle song by Joseph Bruchac: Grade 3 or 4. Seattle, WA: Author.
  • Committee for Children. (2005). Steps to Respect: A Bullying Prevention Program. Literature unit: Yang the third and her impossible family by Lensey Namioka: Grade 3 or 4. Seattle, WA: Author.
  • Committee for Children. (2005). The 3 Rs of bullying [Poster]. Seattle, WA: Author.
  • Namioka, L. (1995). Yang the third and her impossible family. New York, NY: Yearling.

Level 2 curriculum kit (for grade 4 or 5):

  • Blume, J. (1974). Blubber. New York, NY: Yearling.
  • Committee for Children. (2005). Steps to Respect: A Bullying Prevention Program. Classroom video: Grade 4 or 5 [DVD]. Seattle, WA: Author.
  • Committee for Children. (2005). Steps to Respect: A Bullying Prevention Program. Level 2: Teacher's guide and skill lessons: Grade 4 or 5. Seattle, WA: Author.
  • Committee for Children. (2005). Steps to Respect: A Bullying Prevention Program. Literature unit: Blubber by Judy Blume: Grade 4 or 5. Seattle, WA: Author.
  • Committee for Children. (2005). Steps to Respect: A Bullying Prevention Program. Literature unit: There's a boy in the girls' bathroom by Louis Sachar: Grade 4 or 5. Seattle, WA: Author.
  • Sachar, L. (1987). There's a boy in the girls' bathroom. New York, NY: Yearling.

Level 3 curriculum kit (for grade 5 or 6):

  • Committee for Children. (2005). Steps to Respect: A Bullying Prevention Program. Classroom video: Grade 5 or 6 [DVD]. Seattle, WA: Author.
  • Committee for Children. (2005). Steps to Respect: A Bullying Prevention Program. Level 3: Teacher's guide and skill lessons: Grade 5 or 6. Seattle, WA: Author.
  • Committee for Children. (2005). Steps to Respect: A Bullying Prevention Program. Literature unit: Crash by Jerry Spinelli: Grade 5 or 6. Seattle, WA: Author.
  • Committee for Children. (2005). Steps to Respect: A Bullying Prevention Program. Literature unit: The well by Mildred D. Taylor: Grade 5 or 6. Seattle, WA: Author.
  • Committee for Children. (2005). Working it out [Poster]. Seattle, WA: Author.
  • Spinelli, J. (1996). Crash. New York, NY: Yearling.
  • Steps to Respect Information Sheet
  • Steps to Respect Scope and Sequence
  • Taylor, M. D. (1995). The well. New York, NY: Yearling.

Schoolwide implementation support kit:

  • Committee for Children. (2005). Steps to Respect: A Bullying Prevention Program. Program guide: Review of research, program overview, program implementation, and resources. Seattle, WA: Author.
  • Committee for Children. (2005). Steps to Respect: A Bullying Prevention Program. Training manual: All-staff training, coaching training, curriculum orientation training, booster trainings, family overview sessions, staff training video, and staff poster. Seattle, WA: Author.

Readiness for Dissemination Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the intervention's Readiness for Dissemination using three criteria:

  1. Availability of implementation materials
  2. Availability of training and support resources
  3. Availability of quality assurance procedures

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Readiness for Dissemination.

Implementation
Materials
Training and Support
Resources
Quality Assurance
Procedures
Overall
Rating
4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0

Dissemination Strengths

Program materials, including an implementation support kit detailing an overall approach for integration of the program into a school community and providing clear standards for maintaining fidelity, support a schoolwide approach for staff, families, and students to target bullying behaviors. The curriculum and supporting resources for students are age appropriate and of high quality, and resources are provided for families. The developer's Web site contains an abundance of free tools and resources for implementers, including newsletters, research reports, case studies, sample protocols and policies, and tools and tips on securing funding. On-site training, on-site consultation, and Webinars are available to build the competency of implementers. Checklists, surveys, and worksheets assist implementers in monitoring program fidelity. A student experience survey is available to measure the impact of the program, and guidance is provided on using resulting data to support quality assurance.

Dissemination Weaknesses

No weaknesses were identified by reviewers.

Costs

The cost information below was provided by the developer. Although this cost information may have been updated by the developer since the time of review, it may not reflect the current costs or availability of items (including newly developed or discontinued items). The implementation point of contact can provide current information and discuss implementation requirements.

Item Description Cost Required by Developer
Complete curriculum (includes curriculum kits for levels 1, 2, and 3 and schoolwide implementation support kit) $859 each Yes
Additional grade-level curriculum kits (level 1, 2, or 3) $249 each No
Additional schoolwide implementation support kits (includes program guide, training materials, and quality assurance materials) $269 each No
Steps to Respect Webinars or customized Webinars Free No
On-site, customizable training or consultation workshop $1,500 per day No
Phone or email technical assistance Free No
Replications

Selected citations are presented below. An asterisk indicates that the document was reviewed for Quality of Research.

Frey, K. S., Hirschstein, M. K., Edstrom, L. V., & Snell, J. L. (2009). Observed reductions in school bullying, nonbullying aggression, and destructive bystander behavior: A longitudinal evaluation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101, 466-481.

Frey, K. S., Hirschstein, M. K., Snell, J. L., Edstrom, L. V., 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(3), 479-490.  Pub Med icon

Hirschstein, M. K., Edstrom, L. V., Frey, K. S., Snell, J. L., & MacKenzie, E. P. (2007). Walking the talk in bullying prevention: Teacher implementation variables related to initial impact of the Steps to Respect program. School Psychology Review, 36, 3-21.

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.

Contact Information

To learn more about implementation or research, contact:
Tia Kim, Ph.D.
(206) 438-6325
tkim@cfchildren.org

Consider these Questions to Ask (PDF, 54KB) as you explore the possible use of this intervention.

Web Site(s):