Evidence of effectiveness in Finland and elsewhere

In Finland KiVa has been evaluated in a large randomized controlled trial including 117 intervention schools and 117 control schools. The program has been shown to reduce both self- and peer-reported bullying and victimization significantly1. It influences multiple form of victimization, including verbal, relational, physical, and cyberbullying2. In addition, positive effects on school liking, academic motivation and achievement have been reported3. KiVa also reduces anxiety and depression and has a positive impact on students' perception of their peer climate4. A remarkable 98% of victims involved in discussions with the schools' KiVa teams felt that their situation improved5. Finally, Finnish data from more than 1000 schools that started the implementation of KiVa in fall 2009 showed that after the first year of implementation, both victimization and bullying had reduced significantly6. KiVa is now being evaluated in several countries: the first international studies from the Netherlands, Estonia, Italy, and Wales are emerging, showing that KiVa is effective outside of Finland as well.

KiVa program won the European Crime Prevention Award in 2009, Social Policy Award for Best Article in 2012 and four National Awards in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Proportion of students who are systematically bullied by others or bullying others

Evidence of Effectiveness globally

KiVa is now being evaluated in several countries: the first international studies from the Netherlands, Estonia, Italy, and Wales are emerging, showing that KiVa is effective also outside of Finland.

KiVa in Italy

The first pilot study on randomized controlled trial of KiVa antibullying program has been conducted during the year 2013-2014. The sample involved 7 primary and secondary experimental schools as well as 6 primary and secondary control schools. Overall, 1,825 students (920 KiVa students; 905 control students) completed the questionnaire at the beginning and at the end of the school year: 876 students were in grade 4 and 949 were in grade 6. Results showed evidence of effectiveness for the program in relation to bullying and victimization behaviors in both primary and secondary schools: in KiVa primary schools, there was a reduction of 52% in victimization and a reduction of 55% in bullying others. In KiVa secondary schools, there was a reduction of 6% in victimization and a reduction of 40% in bullying others. Overall, results suggested that KiVa antibullying program is also effective in Italy in both primary and secondary schools. For more information on the study, contact Professor Ersilia Menesini Turn on JavaScript!.

KiVa in the Netherlands: Selected findings and the need for new interventions

In May 2014 KiVa was shortlisted as a very promising anti-bullying program by a Dutch committee, which evaluated all anti-bullying programs in the Netherlands. Initial findings from a randomized controlled trial in the Netherlands demonstrate KiVa’s effectiveness in elementary education: the percentage of children who said they were being bullied dropped from 29% to 13.5% in KiVa schools versus from 29% to 18.5% in control schools (Veenstra, 2014).

KiVa in the UK:

In the UK, between 2012-2013, seventeen schools participated in a pilot trial of KiVa Unit 2 (for children aged 9 to 11 years). Significant reductions were reported in bullying and victimisation. Teachers provided positive feedback on the content, suitability of lessons, and pupil engagement. To learn more about the results, click here. A randomized controlled trial is presently underway and results from phase 1 will be published soon.

Selected studies on the effects of the KiVa antibullying program:

1Kärnä, A., Voeten, M., Little, T., Poskiparta, E., Kaljonen, A., & Salmivalli, C. (2011). A large-scale evaluation of the KiVa antibullying program. Child Development, 82, 311-330.

2Salmivalli, C., Kärnä, A., & Poskiparta, E. (2011) Counteracting bullying in Finland: The KiVa program and its effects on different forms of being bullied. A special section edited by C. Spiel, P. Smith, and C. Salmivalli and offered for publication in International Journal for Behavioral Development, 35, 405-411.

3Salmivalli, C., Garandeau, C., & Veenstra, R. (2012). KiVa antibullying program: Implications for school adjustment. In G. Ladd & A. Ryan (Eds.), Peer Relationships and Adjustment at School (pp. 279-307). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

4Williford, A., Noland, B., Little, T., Kärnä, A., & Salmivalli, C. (2012). Effects of the KiVa Antibullying Program on adolescents’ perception of peers, depression, and anxiety. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40, 289-300.

5Garandeau, C. F., Poskiparta, E., & Salmivalli, C. (2014). Tackling acute cases of school bullying in the KiVa anti-bullying program: A comparison of two approaches. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 42, 981-991.

6Kärnä, A., Voeten, M., Little, T., Alanen, E., Poskiparta, E., & Salmivalli, C. (2011). Going to scale: A nonrandomized nationwide tril of the KiVa antibullying program for comprehensive schools. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 79, 796-805.

Williford, A., Elledge, L., Boulton, A., DePaolis, K., Little, T., & Salmivalli, C. (2013). Effects of the KiVa Antibullying Program on Cyberbullying and Cybervictimization Frequency among Finnish Youth. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psycholog, 42, 820-833.

Kärnä, A., Voeten, M., Little, T., Alanen, E., Poskiparta, E., & Salmivalli, C. (2013). Effectiveness of the KiVa antibullying program: Grades 1-3 and 7-9. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105, 535-551.

Saarento, S., Boulton, A., & Salmivalli, C. (2014). Reducing Bullying and Victimization: Student- and Classroom-Level Mechanisms of Change. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, early online.

Ahtola, A., Haataja, A., Kärnä, A., Poskiparta, E., & Salmivalli, C. (2012). For children only? Effects of the KiVa antibullying program on teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 28, 851-859.

Haataja, A., Boulton, A., Voeten, M., & Salmivalli, C. (in press). KiVa antibullying curriculum in primary schools: Implementation and outcome. Journal of School Psychology.