Online Program

Effectiveness of anti-bullying legislation in schools

Monday, November 4, 2013

Patrick Ten Eyck, Biostatistics, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Marizen Ramirez, MPH, PhD, Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Joseph Cavanaugh, PhD, Biostatistics, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Background. Anti-bullying legislation has been used as a strategy to prevent bullying but has a limited evidence-base. The goal of this study is to examine the effectiveness of Iowa's anti-bullying law in preventing bullying victimization. Method: We evaluated 2005, 2008 and 2010 Iowa Youth Survey data from 6th, 8th, and 11th graders. The independent variable was exposure to the law, where 2005 data were coded as pre-law, 2008 data as immediate post-law, and 2010 data as delayed post-law. The outcome variables were: 1) the frequency of bullying victimization in the last month by form (psychological, verbal, physical, and cyber)and 2) reported frequency in which teachers or adults tried to put a stop to bullying. Generalized Linear Mixed Models were constructed. Results: An increase odds of being bullied was found from pre- to immediate post-law periods, followed by a decreased odds from 2008 to 2010 but not below 2005 pre-law levels. This pattern was consistent across all forms of bullying. For example, the odds of being physically bullied was 28% greater during the immediate post-law compared with pre-law periods, but decreased during the delayed post-law period but not to levels below the pre-law period (OR=1.03). The odds of teacher intervention decreased over time from 3.2 from 2005 (pre-law) to 2.6 in 2010 (post-law). Conclusions: Iowa's anti-bullying policy was related to improved reporting immediately after passing the law, and then an encouraging reduction of bullying during the delayed post-law time period. However,the law did not improve teacher response to bullying incidents.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Define the requirements and recommendations of Iowa's anti-bullying law. Evaluate the extent to which teacher intervention of bullying incidents have increased or decreased after the law was put into place. Evaluate the extent to which bullying victimization rates have changed as a result of the passing of the law.

Keyword(s): Policy/Policy Development, Violence Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered