Effectiveness and Sustainability of the ViSC Social Competence Program to Prevent Cyberbullying and Cyber-Victimization: Class and Individual Level Moderators

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Abstract

We investigated whether the general anti-bullying program ViSC sustainably prevents cyberbullying and cyber-victimization. A longitudinal randomized control group design was used to examine (i) program effectiveness immediately after a 1 year implementation phase and (ii) sustainable program effects 6 months later taking several moderators on the class level (class climate and ethnic diversity) and on the individual level (gender, age, internet usage, traditional bullying/victimization) into account. Effectiveness (e.g., the change between waves 2 and 1) was examined in 2,042 students (47.6% girls), aged 11.7 years (SD= 0.88) enrolled in 18 schools and 103 classes. Sustainability (e.g., the change between waves 3 and 2) was examined in a sub-sample of 6 schools and 35 classes comprising 659 students. The self-assessment multiple-item scales showed longitudinal and multiple group invariance. Factor scores were extracted to compute difference scores for effectiveness (Posttest minus Pretest)and sustainability (Follow-up test minus Posttest)for cyberbullying and cyber-victimization. Multilevel Modeling was applied to examine (i) the effectiveness and (ii) the sustainability of the ViSC intervention controlling for several individual and class level variables. Controlling for covariates, it was demonstrated that the ViSC program is effective in preventing cyberbullying and cyber-victimization and that the effects are sustainable after 6 months. The consequences for cyberbullying prevention are discussed. Aggr. Behav. 42:181–193, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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