KiVa

Note: The KiVa program was not responsive to the CEBC's inquiry. The following information was obtained from publicly available sources.

About This Program

Target Population: Students in grade school through high school

Program Overview

KiVa is a school-based antibullying program which has been developed using research on bullying and its mechanisms. KiVa both prevents bullying and tackles cases of bullying. The former is crucial but also the latter is important, as no prevention efforts will make bullying disappear once and for all; there need to be tools to be utilized when a case of bullying comes to light. The third aspect of KiVa is constant monitoring of the situation in one’s school and the changes taking place over time; this is enabled by the online tools included in KiVa. These tools produce annual feedback for each school about their implementation of the program as well as the outcomes obtained.

KiVa includes both universal and indicated actions. The universal actions, such as the KiVa curriculum (student lessons and online games), are directed at all students and focus mainly on preventing bullying. The indicated actions are to be used when a bullying case has emerged. They are targeted specifically to the children and adolescents who have been involved in bullying as perpetrators or victims, as well as to several classmates who are challenged to support the victim; the aim is to put an end to bullying.

Education and Training

Education and Training Resources

Publicly available information indicates there is a manual that describes how to deliver this program, and there is some training available for this program.
See contact info below.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Child Welfare Outcome: Child/Family Well-Being

The CEBC reviews all of the articles that have been published in peer-reviewed journals as part of the rating process. When there are more than 10 published, peer-reviewed articles, the CEBC identifies the most relevant articles, with a focus on randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and controlled studies that have an impact on the rating. The articles chosen for KiVa are summarized below:

Kärnä, A., Voeten, M., Little, T., Poskiparta, E., Kaljonen, A., & Salmivalli, C. (2011). A large-scale evaluation of the KiVa antibullying program. Child Development, 82(1), 311–330. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01557.x

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 8,237

Population:

  • Age — 10-12 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 97.6% Native Finns
  • Gender — 50.1% Female and 49.9% Male
  • Status — Participants were children in grades 4–6.

Location/Institution: Finland

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study demonstrates the effectiveness of KiVa, an antibullying program. Seventy-eight schools were randomly assigned to intervention (39 schools, 4,207 students) and control conditions (39 schools, 4,030 students). Measures utilized include the Olweus Bully⁄Victim Questionnaire, the Participant Role Questionnaire, and a modified version of the Provictim Scale. Results indicated that after 9 months of implementation, the intervention had consistent beneficial effects on 7 of the 11 dependent variables, including self- and peer-reported victimization and self-reported bullying. The results indicate that KiVa is effective in reducing school bullying and victimization in Grades 4–6. Limitations include being generalizable only to schools willing to implement an antibullying program, reliance on self-reported measures, and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Salmivalli, C., Kärnä, A., & Poskiparta, E. (2011). Counteracting bullying in Finland: The KiVa program and its effects on different forms of being bullied. International Journal for Behavioral Development, 35(5), 405–411. https://doi.org/10.1177/0165025411407457

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 5,651

Population:

  • Age — Mean=11 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — Not specified
  • Status — Participants were children in grades 4-6.

Location/Institution: Finland

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study uses the sample population from Kärnä et al. (2011). The present study reports the effects of i, an anti-bullying program, on nine different forms of being bullied in a sample of fourth to sixth graders from 78 schools (39 intervention, 39 control). Measures utilized include the Olweus Bully ⁄Victim Questionnaire. Results indicated positive effects on each form of being bullied that was assessed. After 9 months of intervention, control school students were 1.32–1.94 times as likely to be bullied as students in intervention schools. Limitations include being generalizable only to schools willing to implement an antibullying program, reliance on self-reported measures, and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None

Williford, A., Noland, B., Little, T., Kärnä, A., & Salmivalli, C. (2012). Effects of the KiVa Anti-bullying Program on adolescents’ depression, anxiety, and perception of peers. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40, 289–300. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-011-9551-1

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 7,741

Population:

  • Age — Mean=11.2 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — 50.6% Female and 49.4% Male
  • Status — Participants were children in grades 4-6.

Location/Institution: Finland

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study uses the sample population from Kärnä et al. (2011). The present study investigated the effects of KiVa, an anti-bullying program, on students’ anxiety, depression, and perception of peers in Grades 4–6. Furthermore, it was investigated whether reductions in peer-reported victimization predicted changes in these outcome variables. Participants were randomly assigned to either KiVa or control condition. Measures utilized include the Generalized Perception-of-Peers Questionnaire, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Fear of Negative Evaluation, and the Social Avoidance and Distress scale. Results indicated that KiVa anti-bullying program is effective for reducing students’ internalizing problems and improving their peer-group perceptions. Finally, changes in anxiety, depression, and positive peer perceptions were found to be predicted by reductions in victimization. Limitations include that the forms of victimization were not analyzed separately in the current analysis, reliance on self-reported measures, that the modified version of the BDI may not have been an adequate measure of depression which may have resulted in the lack of gender differences found over time for both conditions, and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

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 Psychology, 42(6), 820–833. https://doi.org/10.1080/15374416.2013.787623

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 339

Population:

  • Age — Mean=12.83 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — 49.7% Female
  • Status — Participants were children in grades 4–9.

Location/Institution: Finland

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study use sample population from Kärnä et al. (2011). The present study investigates the unique effects of KiVa, an antibullying program, on the frequency of cyberbullying and cybervictimization among elementary and middle school youth. Using data from a group randomized controlled trial, multilevel ordinal regression analyses were used to examine differences in the frequencies of cyberbullying and cybervictimization between intervention (N=9,914) and control students (N=8,498). Measures utilized include the Revised Olweus Bully Victim Questionnaire (OBVQ). Results revealed a significant intervention effect on the frequency of cybervictimization; KiVa students reported lower frequencies of cybervictimization at posttest than students in a control condition. The effect of condition on the perpetration of cyberbullying was moderated by age. When student age was below the sample mean, KiVa students reported lower frequencies of cyber bullying than students in the control condition. Evidence of classroom-level variation in cyberbullying and cybervictimization was also found, suggesting cyberbullying is in part a classroom-level phenomenon. KiVa appears to be an efficacious program to address cyber forms of bullying and victimization. Several unique aspects of KiVa that may account for the significant intervention effects were discussed. Results suggest that KiVa is an intervention option for schools concerned with reducing cyber bullying behavior and its deleterious effects on children’s adjustment. Limitations include by measurement of cyberbullying and cybervictimization, only a single item was used to measure cybervictimization and cyberbullying, unclear whether the results would generalize to more ethnically or racially diverse geographic regions or countries.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Kärnä, A., Voeten, M., Little, T. D., Alanen, E., Poskiparta, E., & Salmivalli, C. (2013). Effectiveness of the KiVa antibullying program: Grades 1–3 and 7–9. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(2), 535–551. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0030417

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 339

Population:

  • Age — Mean=12.83 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — 49.7% Female
  • Status — Participants were children in grades 4–9.

Location/Institution: Finland

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study use sample population from Kärnä et al. (2011). This study investigated the effectiveness of KiVa, an antibullying program, in two samples of students, one from Grades 1–3 (7–9 years old, N= 6,927) and the other from Grades 7–9 (13–15 years old, N=16, 503). The Grades 1–3 students were located in 74 schools and Grades 7–9 students in 73 schools that were randomly assigned to intervention and control conditions. Measures utilized include the Olweus Bully Victim Questionnaire (OBVQ) and the Participant Role Questionnaire. Results revealed that after 9 months of implementation, KiVa had beneficial effects in Grades 1–3 on self-reported victimization and bullying, with some differential effects by gender. In Grades 7–9, statistically significant positive results were obtained on 5 of 7 criterion variables, but results often depended on gender and sometimes age. The effects were largest for boys’ peer reports: bullying, assisting the bully, and reinforcing the bully. Limitations include there were only posttest data for students in Grades 1 and 7 makes it impossible to control for potential preexisting differences between intervention and control conditions, and it weakens the evidence for these grade levels, for students in Grades 1–3, the outcome variables included only self-reports of bullying and victimization, this study did not investigate the effectiveness of KiVa on different forms of victimization and bullying, and the results were assessed solely by questionnaire data.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Saarento, S., Boulton, A., & Salmivalli, C. (2015). Reducing bullying and victimization: Student- and classroom-level mechanisms of change. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 43, 61–76. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-013-9841-x

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 7,491

Population:

  • Age — Mean=12.83 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — 49.5% Male
  • Status — Participants were children in grades 4-9.

Location/Institution: Finland

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study used sample population from Kärnä et al. (2011). This longitudinal study examines the mediating mechanisms by which KiVa, an antibullying program, based on the Participant Role approach, reduces bullying and victimization among elementary school students. Measures utilized include the Revised Olweus Bully Victim Questionnaire (OBVQ), the Participant Role Questionnaire, and the Provictim Scale. Results revealed that at the student level, antibullying attitudes and perceptions regarding peers’ defending behaviors and teacher attitudes toward bullying mediated the effects of KiVa on self-reported bullying perpetration. The effects on peer-reported bullying were only mediated by antibullying attitudes. At the classroom level, the program effects on both self- and peer-reported bullying were mediated by students’ collective perceptions of teacher attitudes toward bullying. Also, perceived reinforcing behaviors predicted bullying but did not emerge as a significant mediator. Finally, bullying mediated the effects of the classroom-level factors on victimization. Limitations include age range of the participating students and by the limited range of mediator and outcome variables investigated, lack of a reported effect size for the mediated effects, and reliance on self-reported measures.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None

Yang, A., & Salmivalli, C. (2015). Effectiveness of the KiVa antibullying programme on bully-victims, bullies and victims. Educational Research, 57(1), 80–90. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131881.2014.983724

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 23,520 (195 Finnish schools)

Population:

  • Age — 8–15 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — Not specified
  • Status — Participants were children in 2nd to 9th grade Finnish elementary school students.

Location/Institution: Finland

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study investigates the effectiveness of KiVa, an antibullying programme, in reducing the prevalence of bully-victims, compared with those defined as ‘pure bullies’ and ‘pure victims.’ Schools were randomized to either KiVa or the control. Measures utilized include the Revised Olweus Bully Victim Questionnaire (OBVQ), the Participant Role Questionnaire, and measures that addressed perceptions of caring school climate and attitudes towards school. Results revealed the prevalence changes of bully-victims in intervention schools, in comparison with control schools, were -8% and -41% when identified by self-reports and peer-reports, respectively. Controlling for student gender, school level (primary/secondary) and pretest bullying/victimization status, the odds of being a bully-victim after the intervention year were 1.51 (self-reports) and 1.63 (peer-reports) times higher for a student in a control school, in comparison with a student in an intervention school. Limitations include that only the effect of nine months of the KiVa intervention was evaluated. Future studies should employ longer intervention periods so that the effectiveness of interventions can be examined more extensively, a single item for bullying and victimization was used for the identification of bullying/victimization status, reliance on self-reported measures, and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Juvonen, J., Schacter, H., Sainio, M., & Salmivalli, C. (2016). Can a school-wide bullying prevention program improve the plight of victims? Evidence for risk x intervention effects. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 84(4), 334–344. https://doi.org/10.1037/ccp0000078

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 7,010

Population:

  • Age — Mean=11.2 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — 50.6% Female
  • Status — Participants were fourth to sixth grade elementary school students.

Location/Institution: Finland

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study use sample population from Kärnä et al. (2011). This study was designed to examine whether KiVa, an antibullying program, was effective in reducing incidents of bullying, can also reduce the harm associated with victimization. Specifically, the researchers tested whether baseline victimization moderates the KiVa program (intervention) effects on school perceptions, depression, and self-esteem. Schools were randomized to either KiVa (intervention) or the control. Measures utilized include the Revised Olweus Bully Victim Questionnaire (OBVQ), the Beck Depression Inventory (RBDI), and measures that addressed perceptions of caring school climate and attitudes towards school. Results revealed the KiVa program was particularly effective in facilitating perceptions of a caring school climate among students who were most victimized before the intervention, while program benefits on attitudes toward school did not vary by level of victimization. The intervention effects on depression and self-esteem were strongest only among the most victimized sixth graders. Limitations include it was not known which of the levels of the intervention are most effective due to the intervention operating in conjunction with classroom lessons, computer games, and teachers intervening in incidents, reliance on self-reported measures, and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Nocentini, A., & Menesini, E. (2016). KiVa anti-bullying program in Italy: Evidence of effectiveness in a randomized control trial. Prevention Science, 17, 1012–1023. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-016-0690-z

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 2,042

Population:

  • Age — 4th grade: Mean=8.84 years; 6th grade: Mean=10.93 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 92% Italian
  • Gender — 51.6% Female and 49% Male
  • Status — Participants were fourth and sixth grade elementary school students.

Location/Institution: Italy

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
The present study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of KiVa, an anti-bullying program, in Italy through a randomized control trial of students in grades 4 and 6. Thirteen comprehensive schools were randomly assigned into Intervention (KiVa) or control (usual school provision) conditions. Measures utilized include a revised version of the Revised Olweus Bully Victim Questionnaire (OBVQ), Questionnaire on Attitudes toward Bullying, the Florence Bullying-Victimization Scales, and scales that measured empathy towards the victim. Results showed that KiVa reduced bullying and victimization and increased pro-victim attitudes and empathy toward the victim in grade 4. In grade 6, KiVa reduced bullying, victimization, and pro-bullying attitudes; the effects were smaller as compared to grade 4, yet significant. Finally, using Olweus dichotomous definition of bullies and victims, results showed that the odds of being a victim were 1.93 times higher for a control student than for a KiVa student in grade 4. Limitations include generalizable only to Italian schools that are willing to implement an anti-bullying program and that are from a medium level of risk, data on implementation fidelity was not reported, reliance on self-reported measures, and focus on short-term effects. Future studies should evaluate whether effects are going to be stable over a longer period.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Huitsing, G., Lodder, G. M. A., Browne, W. J., Oldenburg, B., Van der Ploeg. R., & Veenstra, R. (2020). A large-scale replication of the effectiveness of the KiVa antibullying program: A randomized controlled trial in the Netherlands. Prevention Science, 21(5), 627–638. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-020-01116-4

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 98 schools (4,383 students)

Population:

  • Age — Intervention group: Mean=8.66 years; Control group: Mean=8.67 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Intervention group: 49.9% Male, Control group: 47.3% Male
  • Gender — Intervention group: 49.9% Male, Control group: 47.3% Male
  • Status — Participants were students in grades 3–4 (Dutch grades 5–6).

Location/Institution: Netherlands

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study evaluates the effectiveness of KiVa, an antibullying program, in the Netherlands through a randomized controlled trial of students in grades 3–4 (Dutch grades 5–6). After the baseline, two-thirds of the schools were assigned to the intervention condition (KiVa or KiVa+, the latter included an additional intervention component of network feedback to teachers) and one-third to the control condition (waiting list, care as usual) with a stratified randomization procedure. Measures utilized include the Olweus Bully Victim Questionnaire (OBVQ). Results revealed that self-reported victimization and bullying reduced more strongly in KiVa-schools compared with control schools, with stronger effects after two school years than after one school year of implementation. The results showed that for students in control schools, the odds of being a victim were higher, and the odds of being a bully were higher than for KiVa students. No significant differences between KiVa and KiVa+ emerged. Limitations include generalizable to schools in the Netherlands that are motivated and willing to implement a school-wide antibullying program, and did not account for the implementation fidelity reliance on self-reported measures.

Length of postintervention follow-up: Not Specified

Additional References

Salmivalli, 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). Information Age Publishing.

Contact Information

Johanna Alanen
Website: www.kivaprogram.net
Email:

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: June 2020

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: October 2020

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: October 2020