Skip Navigation

Strengthening the evidence base for maternal and child health programs

New: MCHbest strategies database for sample ESMs

Evidence Tools
MCH Best. NPM 9: Bullying

MCH Best Logo group of young school children pointing and laughing at a girl covering her face

Strategy. Multi-Tiered Bullying Program that Engages Youth, Classrooms, and Schools

Approach. Develop community-wide support for anti-bullying activities by promoting the spread of a comprehensive bullying program.

Return to main MCH Best page >>

Overview. Research studies have found there may be added benefits of combining targeted strategies with universal strategies (“Youth + Classroom or Youth + School” and “Youth + Classroom + School”). The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program and the KiVa Antibullying Program are examples of models that combine youth, classroom, and school level interventions.1

Evidence. Moderate Evidence. Multi-tiered approaches have been shown to be the most effective approach in addressing bullying. Thus it is critical to combine youth-targeted interventions with universal programs (e.g., classroom or school-based). Likewise, combining classroom and school level interventions appears to be more effective than implementing either alone. Findings suggest that students involved in extracurricular activities have more favorable perceptions of social-emotional security, adult support, student support, and school connectedness.2 In addition, classroom discussions to elicit views on what rules should govern the way people treat others are thought to increase the likelihood of disciplinary actions for infractions of school rules being effective.3 Access the peer-reviewed evidence through the MCH Digital Library. (Read more about understanding evidence ratings).

Target Audience. Universal: Youth + Classroom + School. Multi-tiered approaches including both targeted and universal strategies may offer added benefits. See above for added benefits of combining with other interventions.

Outcome. Reduced children and adolescents who report being bullied. For detailed outcomes related to each study supporting this strategy, click on the peer-reviewed evidence link above and read the "Intervention Results" for each study.

Examples from the Field. There are currently 29 ESMs across all states/jurisdictions that use address bullying. Because this is a multi-tiered approach, you can pull components together from these examples to form a comprehensive, community-wide approach.. Access descriptions of these ESMs through the MCH Digital Library.

Sample ESMs. Using the approach “Increase youth participation in evidence based mentoring, counseling, or adult supervision programs,” here are sample ESMs you can use as a model for your own measures using the Results-Based Accountability framework (for suggestions on how to develop programs to support this strategy, see The Role of Title V in Adapting Strategies):

QUADRANT 1:
Measuring Quantity of Effort
("What/how much did we do?")

  • Number of schools and/or youth serving organizations in target communities that have implemented a comprehensive bullying program.

QUADRANT 2:
Measuring Quality of Effort
("How well did we do it?")

  • Percent of of schools and/or youth serving organizations in target communities that have implemented a comprehensive bullying program.

QUADRANT 3:
Measuring Quantity of Effect
("Is anyone better off?")

  • Number of schools and/or youth serving organizations in target communities that have implemented a comprehensive bullying program that have a decrease in the number of bullying incidents reported.

QUADRANT 4:
Measuring Quality of Effect
("How are they better off?")

  • Percent of schools and/or youth serving organizations in target communities that have implemented a comprehensive bullying program that have a decrease in the number of bullying incidents reported.

Note. ESMs become stronger as they move from measuring quantity to measuring quality (moving from Quadrants 1 and 3, respectively, to Quadrants 2 and 4) and from measuring effort to measuring effect (moving from Quadrants 1 and 2, respectively, to Quadrants 3 and 4).

Learn More. Read how to create stronger ESMs and how to measure ESM impact more meaningfully through Results-Based Accountability.


References:

1 Lai, Y., Garcia, S., Strobino, D., Grason, H., Payne, E., Karp, C. Minkovitz, C. National Performance Measure 9 Bullying Evidence Review. 2017. Baltimore: MD: Women's and Children's Health Policy Center, Johns Hopkins University.

2 Martinez, A., Coker, C., McMahon, S. D., Cohen, J., & Thapa, A. (2016). Involvement in extracurricular activities: Identifying differences in perceptions of school climate. The Educational and Developmental Psychologist, 33(1), 70-84.

3 Rigby, K. (2011) What can schools do about cases of bullying?, Pastoral Care in Education, 29:4, 273-285.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U02MC31613, MCH Advanced Education Policy, $3.5 M. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.