Trial document

This trial has been registered retrospectively.
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Trial Description

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Olweus Bullying Prevention Program - an evaluation study in german schools

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Trial Acronym


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URL of the Trial

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Brief Summary in Lay Language

This study investigates the efficacy of the Olweus Prevention Program against Bullying and Antisocial Behaviour. Although the program has demonstrated significant effects in the past which are recognised internationally, it is not yet available in German. Therefore, the Olweus program is running in 19 secondary schools across the region of Baden-Württemberg, Germany, at the Moment, within an empirical research context. The development of bullying rates will be investigated in schools participating in the program, as well as psychological consequences such as emotional problems, self-injurious behavior, suicidal intention and risk behaviour.

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Brief Summary in Scientific Language

Over the last few years, increased attention has been paid to the subject of bullying in schools. This is partly due to findings about significant psychosocial consequences for victims. It has also been revealed that bullying and relationship problems within peer groups are the main risk factors for self-injurious and risk behavior among adolescents (Klomek et al, 2010; Brunner et al, 2014), which in turn represent an increased risk for a variety of psychosocial problems. As a result, the development and evaluation of prevention programs targeting self-injurious behaviors and associated risk factors has gained importance (Brunner et al., 2014). The most well known prevention program is also most investigated worldwide - the “Bullying Prevention Program" created by Norwegian researcher Prof. Dan Olweus. However, the Olweus program is not yet available in Germany. The present study therefore investigates whether and to what extent its significant effects can be replicated within the German school system. In addition, it will also investigate whether the prevention and reduction of bullying leads to a reduction in psychopathological consequences among affected adolescents.

The first nine schools have started the implementation in September 2015 (wave 1). Another 10 Schools (wave 2) started in September 2016. The implementation phase takes 18 months. Of interest here will be the pre/post evaluation of the program which will investigate whether a) the German version of the "Olweus Bullying Prevention Program" achieves positive effects in the form of a significant reduction of bullying rates, b) these targeted effects remain stable c) there is a "Dosage -Response "relationship, i.e. whether greater effects are detected in schools demonstrating high program integrity and d) whether a reduction in bullying rates among students is accompanied by a reduction in psychological consequences such as emotional problems, self-injurious behavior, risk behaviours and suicidal ideations. Evaluations of the bullying rates and of the psychopathology will be based on students' self-report and take place on an annual basis within the class context over a period of two years (baseline, postline, follow-up). Half of the schools (wave 1) did the first students' survey in July 2015, while half of the schools started with the first students' survey in July 2016.

Implementation of the program will be documented using teacher surveys administered every quarter. In addition, teachers will be questioned about their experiences with the program and how they handle bullying, both at baseline and after implementation of the program two years later. Therefore in wave 1, baseline takes place in July 2015 and postline in July 2017, whereas for schools in wave 2 baseline is scheduled for July 2016 and postline for July 2018.

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Organizational Data

  •   DRKS00008202
  •   2015/08/04
  •   [---]*
  •   yes
  •   Approved
  •   S-341/2014, Ethik-Kommission I der Medizinischen Fakultät Heidelberg
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Secondary IDs

  •   U1111-1169-9628 
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Health Condition or Problem studied

  •   Bullying at school
  •   behavioural and emotional disorders, health related quality of life, non-suicidal self-injury, suicidal ideation, pathological internet use, risk behavior
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Interventions/Observational Groups

  •   The Olweus prevention program’s intervention strategies are active on four different levels:

    At the school level, study and supervision groups will be set up consisting of all school staff. 90 minute meetings will be held 12 times a year in order to work on the manual, discuss actions as well as current bullying cases. In addition, school rules will be implemented, parent information will be made available, a questionnaire will be administered once a year and a prevention committee consisting of students, teachers and parent representatives will be set up. Finally, the supervision of school breaks will be reinforced and every school that implements the program will be advised by a certified Olweus-Coach.

    At the classroom-level, classroom rules and weekly classroom discussions will be implemented.

    At the individual level, immediate action will be taken in case of bullying and discussions with victims, offenders and their parents will be arranged.

    Schools participating in the program will receive program manuals and relevant work materials.
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  •   Interventional
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  •   Single arm study
  •   Open (masking not used)
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  •   Uncontrolled/Single arm
  •   Prevention
  •   Single (group)
  •   N/A
  •   N/A
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Primary Outcome

Bullying at school is the primary outcome of the present study. The following variables will be investigated using the Bullying Victim Questionnaire Revised (BVQR):
- Incidence of bullying during the last months
- Type of bullying
- Relationships among the students
- Teacher intervention
- Cyberbullying

The questionnaire will be administered to the pupils in a class setting on computers and will take between 15 and 20 minutes to complete. These questions consitute the first part of the students' survey, which will be administered annually to the classes by their teachers. Pupils of the schools in wave 1 did the baseline in July 2015 and the postline in July 2016. The follow-up assessment will take place in July 2017. For schools in wave 2 the baseline took place in July 2016. Postline and follow-up are scheduled for July 2017 and July 2018 for these schools.

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Secondary Outcome

The secondary outcome of the present study concerns the psychological consequences of bullying. In order to analyze these consequences, data in reference to psychopathology will be collected using various instruments aimed at detecting strengths and behavioural problems (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire SDQ-Deu), health-related quality of life (Kidscreen-10), non-suicidal self-injury and suicidal behaviour disorder (Self-Injurious Thoughts and Behaviors Interview SITBI), internet use (Young Diagnostic Questionnaire YDQ) as well as additional risk behaviors (several items from the Global School-based Student Health Survey GSHS).
This information will be collected online immediately after administration of the BVQR and pose the second part of the students' survey. As described above, the students' survey is administered annually (wave 1: 2015-2017, wave 2: 2016-2018). It will take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete this second part of the questionnaire.

Implementation of the program will also be evaluated. This will be achieved using questionnaires for teachers, designed by the work group, which are anonymously completed online every quarter by teachers. The aim is to establish the number of classroom discussions and parents meetings that have taken place, participation rates within supervision groups and intervention among students in accordance with the Olweus methods. This implementation questionnaire will take approximately 5 minutes to complete.

In addition, another teacher questionnaire will be administered before program implementation (teacher-baseline) and two years later (teacher-postline) in order to investigate how bullying has been handled over the last few months as well as experiences with the Olweus Prevention Program. Completion of this questionnaire will take approximately 10 minutes. Like the students' survey, the baseline of the teacher survey took place in July 2015 for wave 1 respectively July 2016 for wave 2.

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Countries of Recruitment

  •   Germany
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Locations of Recruitment

  • other 
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  •   Actual
  •   2015/07/02
  •   6000
  •   Monocenter trial
  •   National
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Inclusion Criteria

  •   Both, male and female
  •   no minimum age
  •   no maximum age
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Additional Inclusion Criteria

Participants will consist of students from grades 5 to 12 attending from maximum 30 pilot schools in Baden-Württemberg.

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Exclusion Criteria

Participation in the study and completion of the questionnaires is voluntary and can be refused and/or interrupted at any time should that be requested by the parent, guardian or student, without having to give any form of justification.

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Sources of Monetary or Material Support

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    • Baden-Württemberg Stiftung gGmbH
    • Kriegsbergstraße 42
    • 70174  Stuttgart
    • Germany
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  •   Recruiting complete, follow-up continuing
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Trial Publications, Results and other Documents

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* This entry means the parameter is not applicable or has not been set.