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Measuring Bullying Prevention: New Tool to Help States, Schools

BETHESDA, MD — Approximately twenty percent of youth, ages 12 through 18, in the United States experience and report bullying.
While most reported bullying takes place in school, on school grounds, or on the school bus, a growing concern is cyberbullying through texting, social media, and online gaming. Long term, bullying can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety and depression, as well as poor health outcomes, and more communities want to attack the problem.
To reduce the trauma and long-term harmful effects of bullying, Abt Associates worked with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), to develop a new prevention tool for schools, health professionals and other organizations to measure bullying prevention capacity and prevention efforts.

New Tool for Measuring Impact

The tool, “Assessing Capacity for Bullying Prevention and Implementing Change,” is an evidence-based resource that offers real-world ways schools and health departments can measure and assess bullying prevention over time. Until now, it has been difficult for schools and agencies to accurately gauge the impact of their bullying prevention activities and to determine if their efforts conform with the most recent evidence.
“Bullying is a major public health problem, and our hope is that many communities will use this resource, because it spells out what we know works,” said Christopher Spera, Ph.D., Abt division vice president.
“Building empathy, promoting inclusion, social-emotional learning and trauma-sensitive approaches are just some of the evidence-based drivers of change that will make a difference and improve school climate,” said Helga Luest, project director and Abt senior communications manager.
HRSA contracted with Abt to develop the tool, in partnership with Dr. Fred Springer and Education Development Center, to support its National Bullying Prevention Initiative. Sixteen states and jurisdictions have chosen bullying prevention as one of their block grant performance measures, as they work to reduce the prevalence of bullying in their communities.
Using the tool, state health departments and partners can:

  • Set a baseline measurement to assess bullying prevention capacity;
  • Use evidence-based approaches to improve bullying prevention efforts at the local level; and
  • Measure change over time in their bullying prevention work.

October marks the annual observance of Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. In addition to the release of this new resource,, a partnership of many federal agencies addressing bullying prevention, will post new research summaries, fact sheets and infographics on bullying that Abt developed.
Abt will also be facilitating a Twitter chat on cyberbullying on October 31, 2017 at 2 pm, ET.
About Abt Associates
Abt Associates is an engine for social impact, harnessing the power of data and grounded insight to bring people from vulnerability to security worldwide. We provide research, consulting and technical services globally, working in the areas of health, environmental and social policy, and international development.
Amy Dunaway

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