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Research and Results

Interested in learning about the research base of the Steps to Respect program? Download the following review of research:

Research Findings

Looking for research findings on the Steps to Respect program for a grant proposal or to bolster buy-in? Read the following summaries of findings, organized by publication date.

New U.S. Study First to Show Less Physical Bullying in Schools

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.

This study, the largest and most rigorous U.S. study to date of a school-based bullying prevention program, showed that the Steps to Respect program had significant impacts on bullying and a wide range of factors related to bullying—in just one year. Overall, the evaluation found the program had positive impacts on fully half of the outcomes measured. The findings support the effectiveness of the program for preventing bullying and support the program’s model of targeting school-, peer-­, and individual-­level factors. In the key finding on bullying behavior, teachers in Steps to Respect schools reported students were 33 percent less likely to engage in physical bullying.

Read more about this study.

Study Shows 72 Percent Decrease in Malicious Gossip

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(4), 536–551.

Elementary school students who participated in a three-month Steps to Respect bullying prevention program in schools in the Pacific Northwest showed a 72 percent decrease in malicious gossip. The study, carried out by researchers from the University of Washington and Wichita State University, is the first to show that the widely used Steps to Respect bullying prevention program can curb children’s malicious gossip, an element of playground behavior often seen as harmless but capable of causing real harm.

Read more about this study.

Study Shows 31 Percent Decrease in Bullying in Steps to Respect Schools

Frey, K. S., Hirschstein, M., Edstrom, L., & Snell, J. (2009). Observed reductions in school bullying, nonbullying aggression, and destructive bystander behavior: A longitudinal evaluation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(2), 466–481.

A study published in the May 2009 issue of the Journal of Educational Psychology found a 31 percent decrease in bullying and victimization in schools that participated in the Steps to Respect program for two years. It also found dramatic decreases in destructive bystander behavior, which can encourage bullying.

Read more about this study.

"Walking the Talk" Makes a Difference in Bullying Prevention

Hirschstein, M. K., Edstrom, L. V. S., 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(1), 3–21.

Teachers who "walk the talk" of bullying prevention weave support for positive behaviors into daily interactions with students and coach those involved in bullying. The payoff is less aggression, victimization, and encouragement of bullying, according to a study published in the March 2007 issue of School Psychology Review.

Read more about this study.

Six Schools Show a Reduction of Bullying

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), 479–491.

A rigorous evaluation of the Steps to Respect program was published in the May–June 2005 issue of Developmental Psychology. Research found that after 12 weeks of implementation:

  • There were 25 percent fewer bullying incidents on the playground compared to a control group.
  • Children who were bystanders to bullying were less encouraging of it.
  • The effects of the Steps to Respect program were most pronounced among students observed to do the most bullying before program implementation.

Read more about this study.

Related Chapters and Articles

The following chapters and articles feature information about the Steps to Respect program, tying together both the framework of the program and its research base.

Harmful Outcomes Associated with Bullying

Hirschstein, M. K., & Frey, K. S. (2006). Promoting behavior and beliefs that reduce bullying: The Steps to Respect program. In S. Jimerson and M. Furlong (Eds.), The handbook of school violence and school safety: From research to practice. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

This chapter describes the conceptual foundations and specific practices found in the Steps to Respect program. This is followed by a summary of evidence of the program's effectiveness, based on a one-year random control trial, as well as a review of findings and issues related to classroom implementation. The chapter concludes with a discussion of implications for school and classroom practice.

Increasing Knowledge of Bullying Interventions

Snell, J. L., & Hirschstein, M. K. (2004). School-based bullying prevention: A review of research and effective intervention. In S. W. Lee (Ed.), Macmillan psychology reference series vol. 3: School psychology. New York: Macmillan Reference USA.

This is a concise review of research about bullying and bullying intervention.

Bullying Prevention in a Social Context

Snell, J. L., MacKenzie, E. P., & Frey, K. S. (2002). Bullying prevention in elementary schools: The importance of adult leadership, peer group support, and student social-emotional skills. In M. A. Shinn, H. M. Walker, & G. Stoner (Eds.), Interventions for academic and behavior problems II: Prevention and remedial approaches. Bethesda, MD: NASP Publications.

This chapter provides background on the nature, prevalence, and consequences of bullying.

Read more about this study.

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