Olweus Bullying Prevention Programme - a school-wide programme designed to prevent bullying amongst children

At a glance

Country of origin: 
Norway
Last reviewed: 
23.10.2018
Age group: 
6-10 years
11-14 years
Target group: 
Children aged 10-14
Programme setting(s): 
School
Level(s) of intervention: 
Selective prevention
Universal intervention

The Olweus Bullying Prevention programme is a school-wide programme designed to prevent bullying amongst children aged 10-14. It includes administering a bullying survey, establishing a Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committee and addressing bullying incidents through separate follow-up meetings for bullies and victims. The classroom level component involves establishing clear and consistently enforced rules against bullying, along with regular class discussions and activities designed to reinforce rules and anti-bullying values and norms. Discussions and activities also present the harm caused by bullying and strategies for preventing it. The programme encourages parental involvement through meetings and discussion of the problem and efforts to address it.

Contact details: 

Ms. Lydia Arneson
OBP Programme Coordinator
Clemson University
2038 Barre Hall
Clemson, SC 29634
USA
Phone: 1 (864) 656-6712
Email: lydia[a]clemson.edu / nobully[a]clemson.edu
Website: www.clemson.edu/olweus

Overview of results from the European studies

Last reviewed: 
23.10.2018
Evidence rating: 
Likely to be beneficial

Studies overview

The programme has been evaluated in two quasi-experimental studies in Norway and one quasi-experimental study in England, UK.

The original Norwegian study used comparisons of adjacent age-cohorts, with 2500 students in Grades 4 to 7 from 42 schools. There were reductions in self-reported bullying, antisocial behaviours (theft, vandalism and truancy) and self-reported victimisation, improved school climate, as well as teacher and peer reports of bully-victim problems. The outcomes were found in the first follow-up (8 months after baseline) as well as the second follow-up (20 months after baseline).

The second Norwegian study was conducted in grades 7 to 9 in 6 schools. The study evaluated the effects on substance use behaviours and did not include bullying measures. There were significant effects on 3 of 9 measures. There were significant differences between groups in levels of cannabis use, smoking, and drunkenness between groups, with levels much higher among control group.

The English study was also conducted with adjacent age-cohorts. of 6,758 students, aged 8 to 16 years, from 24 schools participated. Although for most measures, changes were better in treatment schools than in comparison schools, the study only showed a significant intervention effect on frequency of bullying.

References of studies

Countries where evaluated

Canada
Ireland
Malaysia
Norway
United Kingdom
USA

Characteristics

Protective factor(s) addressed: 
Community: opportunities and rewards for prosocial involvement in the community (including religiosity)
Family: parent involvement in learning/education
Individual and peers: clear morals and standards of behaviour
Individual and peers: individual/peers other
Individual and peers: interaction with prosocial peers
Individual and peers: opportunities and rewards for prosocial peers involvement
Individual and peers: Problem solving skills
Individual and peers: refusal skills and decision making
Individual and peers: skills for social interaction
School and work: opportunities for prosocial involvement in education
Risk factor(s) addressed: 
No defined Risk factors
Outcomes targeted: 
Education
Academic performance
Positive relationships
Relations with peers
Substance-related behaviours
Bullying
Crime/Delinquency
Other behaviour outcomes

Description of programme

The Olweus Bullying Prevention Programme targets the problem of bullying at three levels: the school, the classroom and the individual. Designed for elementary and middle schools, the programme addresses the problem of bullying with multiple strategies at each level. At the school level, students are given an anonymous questionnaire (25-45 minutes long) to assess the nature and prevalence of bullying at the school. The survey is administered in spring of the school year prior to programme implementation. Secondly, the school administration convenes a conference day, during which programme consultants and school staff discuss findings from the student questionnaire, familiarize themselves with the programme and its effects (through discussions with programme consultants, handbooks and videos), form a Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committee, and plan for programme implementation. The coordinating committee includes representatives from all constituencies involved with the school, i.e. administration, teachers, counsellors, health professionals, parents and students. The school level component also involves increased adult supervision of school areas that are frequently the setting for bullying, i.e., the playground, cafeteria and restrooms.

The classroom level component involves establishing clear and consistently enforced rules against bullying, along with regular class discussions and activities designed to reinforce rules and anti-bullying values and norms. Discussions and activities also present the harm caused by bullying and strategies for preventing it. The programme encourages parental involvement through meetings and discussion of the problem and efforts to address it.

Individual level components include interventions with bullies, victims and their parents. Interventions are designed to ensure the cessation of the bullying behaviour and to provide support to victims.

Explore all resources in the Best practice portal

Collaborations and partnerships in best practice

logo of the cochrane collaboration  grade logo   grade logo  Health Evidence Network, WHO Europe 

Loading