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Research to Practice: Rolling Implementation of Evidence-Based Anti-Bullying Strategies in a Swedish Municipality
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Educational sciences, Educational science. ('Gävlemodellen' - 'The Gefle Model')
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Educational sciences, Educational science.
Gävle kommun.
Gävle kommun.
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2016 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

There is a dearth of research into the consequences of systematic reductions of prevalence of target behaviors, such as bullying, in school-based prevention science.  Reducing prevalence may also result in making bullying more difficult to uncover (Cunningham et al., 2015). Preventing bullying at school is a much researched field (Ttofi & Farrington, 2011).  In international comparisons, prevalence of bullying at school varies widely, with rates for Swedish schools regularly being lowest (e.g., among 66 countries, Due & Holstein, 2008).  Conditions influencing program efficacy are likely to vary as prevalence of target behavior is reducing.  School-wide prevention strategies, in schools with one or more victims in every class, present a very different challenge compared to schools where victims are found in every second of third class.  Recent longitudinal data from Sweden (Swedish Agency for Education, 2011; Hellstedt, Johansson & Gill, 2016 forthcoming) has revealed a cyclical replacement of victims, after successful intervention, showing that while rates at cross-sectional measurement intervals may remain the same (typically 6/7% in Swedish schools), up to 75% of victims at one time will self-report not being victimized at one-year follow-up (op.cit.).  Low rates of bullying in Sweden are the result intervention strategies based on a wide variety of ‘standard’ (International, Scandinavian & National) prevention programs, at least 21 according to Skolverket (2003).  A national evaluation revealed extensive program cross-contamination, proving the unviability of “gold standard” evaluation practices. “What works” conclusions were described in terms of program components.  When “promising” evidence for effective program components is produced, there is an inevitable momentum to package components into replicable “programs”.  We argue that this momentum may hamper response flexibility, particularly when program providers, in seeking to be “evidence based” may place more importance on implementation functions such as program fidelity and dosage rather than individual outcomes. We argue that considerations such as dosage and program fidelity are less relevant when anti-bullying initiatives are being adapted to variations in school contexts and climates (Gregory, Henry & Schoeny, 2007).  Component efficacy and effectiveness may also be masked by confidentiality requirements in program evaluations and outcome assessments that are based on follow-up, cross-sectional, cohort statistics.  What works in Sweden, for example, found by Frisén, Hasselblad & Holmqvist (2012), based on evidence from former victims, in descending order of importance: Support from school personnel; Transition to new school level; Change of coping strategies; Support from parents; Change of appearance or way of being; Change of school or class as a deliberate attempt to make the bullying stop; New friends; The bullies changed their attitude; No particular reason; and Support from peers, may not translate to other cultures, school systems and traditions.  With observed low prevalence, extensive program implementation, research evidence on effective components and extensive judicial obligations, it is likely, that in most Swedish municipalities, active anti-bullying programs may, theoretically, be located at the later phases of an implementation research continuum (Chalamandaris &  Piette, 2015, after Flay,1986, & Flay et al., 2005).  This, late stage program/component developemt, also has an impact on schools’ potential capacity to improve (Oterkiil & Ertesvåg, 2012).  Given these contexts, it is important to research the present state of evidence based anti-bullying strategies in Sweden.  Using best practice in program implementation evaluation a descriptive case study of scaled-up, school district-wide (Rhoades, Bumbarger & Moore 2012), research-to-action (Guhn et al., 2012) anti-bullying strategies in a Swedish municipality is presented. The goal is to investigate conditions, participants, hindrances, responses and outcomes at different stages of a rolling implementation process.  This Swedish example may be of value in other European school systems where prevalence is reducing toward Swedish levels.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. 305
Keyword [en]
rolling implementation, research-to-practice, anti-bullying
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-23062OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-23062DiVA: diva2:1056738
Conference
ECER 2016, Leading Education: The Distinct Contributions of Educational Research and Researchers, 22-26 August 2016, Dublin, Ireland
Note

Network 5: Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education

Available from: 2016-12-15 Created: 2016-12-15 Last updated: 2017-01-13Bibliographically approved

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