How do we know it actually works?
Scientific validation of the effectiveness of prevention programmes is crucial because it gives us more certainty than subjective intuition. Analyses show that poorly validated methods may be ineffective, may not work at all, or may be even harmful despite good intentions.
The evidence for the effectiveness of KiVa programme is based on the principles used in testing new methods in other sciences, for example medicine
Kärnä, A., Voeten, M., Little, T. D., Poskiparta, E., Kaljonen, A., & Salmivalli, C. (2011). A large-scale evaluation of the KiVa antibullying program: Grades 4-6. Child development, 82(1), 311-330. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01557.x
Huitsing, G., Lodder, G., Browne, W. J., Oldenburg, B., Van der Ploeg, R., & Veenstra, R. (2020). A large-scale replication of the effectiveness of the KiVa Antibullying Program: A randomized controlled trial in the Netherlands. Prevention science, 21(5), 627-638. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-020-01116-4
Nocentini, A., & Menesini, E. (2016). KiVa anti-bullying program in Italy: Evidence of effectiveness in a randomized control trial. Prevention science, 17(8), 1012-1023. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-016-0690-z
Gaffney, H., Ttofi, M. M., & Farrington, D. P. (2019). Evaluating the effectiveness of school-bullying prevention programs: An updated meta-analytical review. Aggression and violent behavior, 45, 111-133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2018.07.001
Williford, A., Boulton, A., Noland, B., Little, T. D., Kärnä, A., & Salmivalli, C. (2012). Effects of the KiVa anti-bullying program on adolescents’ depression, anxiety, and perception of peers. Journal of abnormal child psychology, 40(2), 289-300. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-011-9551-1
Salmivalli, C., Garandeau, C. F., & Veenstra, R. (2012). KiVa anti-bullying program: Implications for school adjustment. In A. M. Ryan & G. W. Ladd (Eds.), Peer relationships and adjustment at school (pp. 279-305). IAP Information Age Publishing
Pilot verification in the Czech Republic
The effectiveness of the program is determined using a quasi-experimental design with a delayed intervention control group. The development of both pupils and teachers is monitored and the research design includes both quantitative and qualitative tools for deeper insight into the processes and mechanisms that may play a role in reducing bullying and improving children’s mental well-being. The piloting of the KiVa programme in the Czech environment is in line with the principles of open science and the detailed pre-registration of the project can be read here: https://osf.io/mrezb .