Evaluation of the STAC
Teacher Module

Evaluation of the STAC
Teacher Module

Bullying is a significant problem for youth and is associated with a wide range of negative consequences. Educating teachers about bullying and training them to support students to intervene as “defenders” may increase the efficacy of bullying bystander programs. This is particularly important in middle school when bullying peaks and rates of reporting bullying to teachers begin to decline.

This study, published in JMIR Formative Research, used a mixed-methods design to inform the development of a Teacher Module as a companion training to a brief bullying prevention program for middle schools, called STAC. The STAC bystander intervention is a 75-minute training that includes didactic and experiential components. It teaches middle school students to act as “defenders” on behalf of targets of bullying through utilizing four intervention strategies:

STAC Bullying Bystander Strategies

(1) “Stealing the Show” – using humor or distraction to interrupt a bullying situation and remove the attention away from the target;

(2) “Turning it Over” – identifying a trusted adult at school, reporting, and asking for help during a bullying incident;

(3) “Accompanying Others” – befriending and/or providing support to a peer who was a target of bullying; and

(4) “Coaching Compassion” – gently confronting the perpetrator and increasing empathy for the target.

Providing students who witness bullying with intervention strategies to act as “defenders” can reduce both bullying and negative associated outcomes for both targets and bystanders.

For the development of the companion STAC Teacher Module, 18 teachers were recruited from one middle school in a rural, low-income community. Before and after the training, teachers completed surveys assessing immediate outcomes (such as knowledge, confidence, comfort, and self-efficacy), intention to use the program strategies, and program acceptability and relevance. After the final survey, a subset of six teachers participated in a qualitative focus group to obtain feedback regarding program appropriateness, feasibility, content, perception of need, and potential desire for an online version of the teacher training.

Study measures, procedures, analyses, and results are detailed in the JMIR Formative Research paper. Descriptive statistics, independent sample t-tests, and thematic analysis were used to analyze the data. In summary, the researchers found an increase in teacher knowledge and confidence to support “defenders,” confidence and comfort in managing bullying, and bullying self-efficacy. Most teachers reported they were likely or very likely to use the STAC strategies to support students who intervene in bullying in the future. Both quantitative and qualitative data showed the teacher training was easy to use, useful, relevant, and appropriate. Qualitative data provided feedback on program improvement. Teachers shared positive feedback on program feasibility and implementation, and described strengths of an online version of the module. This study demonstrates the effectiveness of the STAC Teacher Module in increasing teacher knowledge and bullying self-efficacy and provides support for the development of an online version of the module for teachers.

This research was supported by a grant to Boise State University from the Mental Research Institute (Dr. Aida Midgett, Principal Investigator). Co-authors include Dr. Diana Doumas from Boise State University and Ms. Mary Buller from Klein Buendel.

Collaborator Spotlight:
Dr. Susan Breitenstein

Collaborator Spotlight:
Dr. Susan Breitenstein

Susan Breitenstein, PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN, is an Associate Professor, Assistant Dean for Research and Innovation, and Senior Director of the Community Outreach and Engagement & CHW Training Program at The Ohio State University College of Nursing. She received her PhD from Rush University. Her clinical training is as a child and adolescent psychiatric nurse. Working clinically with children, adolescents, and families with mental health issues led Dr. Breitenstein to focus her research efforts on mental health promotion and prevention through implementation and dissemination of evidence-based parenting interventions. Her other research interests include fatherhood interventions and intervention fidelity. In addition to research, Dr. Breitenstein serves as Secretary of the Global Implementation Society.

Currently, Dr. Breitenstein is collaborating with Ms. Julia Berteletti from Klein Buendel on a research study entitled, “Parent Training for Parents of Toddlers Born Very Premature: A Factorial Design to Test Web Delivery and Telephone Coaching” (HD104072; Dr. Breitenstein, Principal Investigator). This study is an adaptation of the Chicago Parent Program and will focus on parenting children who were born very premature, or before 32 weeks gestational age. The Chicago Parent Program is a 12-session parenting program designed to reduce behavioral issues in young children, ages 2-5 years, through strengthening parenting skills. Children who are born very premature have higher risks and vulnerabilities for developing behavioral problems. This study aims to test digital delivery of parent training plus coaching calls for parents of toddlers who were born very premature.


Media Literacy Case Study

Media Literacy Case Study

Dr. Barbara Walkosz from Klein Buendel, Ms. Tessa Jolls from the Center for Media Literacy, Dr. Marilyn Cohen from the University of Washington, and Mr. Michael Danielson from Action 4 Media Literacy presented timely media literacy research at the National Association of Media Literacy Education Conference (July 15-17, 2022). Their virtual presentation was entitled, “Media Literacy Policy Enactment and Implementation: A Case Study of Washington State.”

As the need for media literacy across societal sectors is well established, citizens, educators, and policymakers increasingly recognize the necessity for a citizenry to have the skills to be able critically analyze and create media content. Primarily since the U.S. elections of 2016 and 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic, media literacy is taking its place center-stage as an essential element for sustaining a democratic and a healthy society. Although efforts for media literacy education policy adoption are encouraging at the national and state levels, once adopted, policies and programs are sparsely funded and often not institutionally supported for a sustained period.

The case study of the adoption and implementation of media literacy in the state of Washington offers insights into successful strategies for long-term enactment of media literacy education. Diffusion of Innovations Theory provides a theoretical framework to explain and understand the adoption and implementation processes and offers a promising framework for media literacy policy implementation in other contexts.

EZPreemie Study Protocol

EZPreemie Study Protocol

A research team from The Ohio State University, Rush University, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and Klein Buendel has published a paper describing a 5-year research project to develop and evaluate a technology-based, widely accessible, and effective form of behavioral parent training (BPT) delivery to address the unmet and unique needs of parents of very preterm children.

As presented in the paper published in BMJ Open, children born very preterm (gestational age <32 weeks) are twice as likely to demonstrate behavior problems such as aggression, non-compliance, temper tantrums and irritability compared with their term-born peers. While BPT is a gold standard for prevention and treatment of childhood problem behaviors, there are limited accessible and effective BPT interventions for families with children born very preterm. The paper describes a multi-center, randomized controlled protocol for a factorial design trial evaluating the independent and combined effects of the ezParent BPT intervention plus brief, weekly coaching calls on parent and child outcomes for families with toddlers born very preterm.

The BMJ Open paper details the study design, aims, intervention, measures, analysis plans, and procedures of the study which will employ a 2×2 factorial randomized design. Parents (n=220) of children aged 20–30 months corrected age who were born very preterm (<32 weeks) will be recruited from two large metropolitan Neonatal Intensive Care Unit follow-up clinics and randomized to one of four conditions: (1) ezParent (2) ezParent + coach, (3) active control or (4) active control + coach. A web-based app will provide behavioral training through brief videos, interactivity, reflection questions, and assessments. Data on parenting and child behavior outcomes will be obtained from all participants at baseline and 3, 6 and 12 months for program evaluation.

This research is being led by Dr. Susan Breitenstein from The Ohio State University (OSU) and Dr. Michelle Greene of Rush University (Multiple Principal Investigators). It is funded by a grant from The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institute of Health (HD104072). Additional co-authors on this publication include Dr. Michael Schoeny and Dr. Kousiki Patra from Rush University; Dr. Sarah Keim from Nationwide Children’s Hospital and OSU; Dr. Mary Lauren Neel from Nationwide Children’s Hospital; Ms. Shea Smoske from OSU; and Ms. Julia Berteletti from Klein Buendel.


Training Cannabis Store Personnel in Responsible Vendor Practices

Training Cannabis Store Personnel in Responsible Vendor Practices

Dr. W. Gill Woodall, Klein Buendel Senior Scientist, participated in a panel discussion at the 45th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism, June 25-29, in Orlando, Florida. He presented data and results from a recent study assessing and training cannabis store personnel in responsible vendor practices. In the wake of a great expansion of recreational cannabis, the prevention of harms related to polysubstance use has gathered attention as well. Specific and effective prevention strategies are needed. One potential approach borrows from alcohol prevention – responsible sales and service.

Regulations in all state recreational cannabis markets prohibit sales of marijuana products to customers under age 21 and in a few markets, sales to intoxicated customers. Using pseudo-patron methods, our team assessed sales to underage-appearing customers in recreational cannabis stores in Colorado and Washington State (175 stores) in 2016-17 and sales to apparently alcohol-intoxicated customers in stores in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington State (150 stores) in 2018.

Refusal of underage-appearing pseudo-patrons were very frequent (92.6%). By comparison, refusal of apparently alcohol-intoxicated pseudo-patrons was infrequent in all three states (11.0%), even though Oregon state law explicitly prohibited it. An online survey of personnel from 59 stores in 2020 explored frequency of sales to these customers. Respondents indicated that underage customers attempted to enter stores frequently (66.1% several/many times) and customers entered stores who were intoxicated by alcohol (40.7%) or marijuana (44.1%). They often refused sales to customers (57.6% several/many times for any reason; 42.4% for being intoxicated). Management support was high for checking IDs (91.5% supported it a lot) but moderate for refusing to sell to customers appearing intoxicated (74.6%).

An online responsible marijuana vendor training created by Dr. Woodall and his collaborators from Klein Buendel and the Prevention Research Center at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) called “Train To Tend,” may have improved refusal to under-age customers at the entrances in stores that used it (trained stores: 65.9%, baseline, 82.5%, 3-month posttest, and 79.9%, 9-month posttest; untrained stores: 82.6%, 83.1%, 84.5% respectively), but did not seem to impact sales to intoxicated customers (intervention: 11.6%, control: 7.6%).

Deterrence due to state regulations or store policy for sales of cannabis products appears to be lower for sales to customers who appear intoxicated than underage customers in these cannabis markets. Training in responsible sales practices alone may not be successful when deterrence is low. Increasing deterrence may depend on regulators actively prioritizing the law to store licensees and monitoring compliance. Improve understanding of how regulatory policy and retail availability affect potential co-use of alcohol and cannabis in the legalized adult-use markets.

This research was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health (DA038933; Dr. David Buller, Principal Investigator). Dr. Woodall’s Co-Investigators include Dr. Robert Saltz from the Prevention Research Center at PIRE and Dr. David Buller from Klein Buendel.

STAC-T Phase II Project

STAC-T Phase II Project

A collaborative research team from Boise State University, Plymouth State University, the University of Mississippi, and Klein Buendel is launching a Phase II STTR research project to develop and evaluate the impact of a middle school intervention to reduce bullying and its negative consequences. The project is entitled “Translation of an In-Person Brief, Bystander Bullying Intervention (STAC) into a Technology-Based Program.” STAC uses four strategies in its bullying bystander intervention: “Stealing the show,” “Turning it over,” “Accompanying others,” and “Coaching compassion.”  

The project will use state-of-the-art technology to adapt a novel, evidence-based bullying bystander intervention to a user-centered, technology-based format for an underserved population with significant mental health disparities. STAC-T will extend the scope of the original STAC intervention by providing a delivery mechanism that increases access and reduces implementation barriers for schools in rural, low-income communities, as well as providing interactive, user-centered content. STAC-T will address both bullying and negative mental health outcomes for targets and bystanders through an evidence-based approach adapted for a broader audience and utilize  technology to effectively implement bullying prevention.


Phase II Specific Aims

  • Develop a fully-programmed, media-rich, interactive STAC-T intervention in English and Spanish consisting of (1) core modules providing interactive training on essential topics (such as bullying, bystander roles, STAC strategies), (2) interactive skills practice with avatars moving through bullying scenarios with feedback, and (3) booster sessions in which students report strategy use and feedback and badges for intervening.
  • Conduct usability testing of the fully-programmed STAC-T in three middle schools in two states with students and school personnel to evaluate the user interface, ease of use, and perceived barriers in order to optimize the program prior to a large-scale investigation.
  • Test the fully-programmed, dual language (English and Spanish) STAC-T in six middle schools in four states through a randomized controlled trial to evaluate changes in (1) knowledge, confidence, and use of STAC strategies, (2) bullying and cyberbullying perpetration and victimization, and (3) mental health outcomes.

The investigators hypothesize that STAC-T will (1) improve access by reducing implementation barriers for middle schools, particularly those in rural and low-income communities, (2) train bystanders to effectively intervene, reducing bullying while simultaneously improving the mental health of bystanders, and (3) improve program sustainability at the middle school level when bullying behavior peaks.

The STAC-T project is funded by an STTR Phase II grant to Klein Buendel from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health (MD014943; Dr. Aida Midgett, Principal Investigator). Dr. Midgett is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Counselor Education at Boise State University. Her collaborators on this research project include Dr. Diana Doumas and Dr. Laura Bond from Boise State University; Dr. Robin Hausheer from Plymouth State University; Dr. Amanda Winburn from the University of Mississippi; and Ms. Mary Buller from Klein Buendel. The STAC-T modules will be programmed by Klein Buendel’s Creative Team.

Responsible Beverage Service Training for Spanish-Speaking Alcohol Servers

Responsible Beverage Service Training for Spanish-Speaking Alcohol Servers

Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) training has shown promise to reduce alcohol-related injury and mortality. The diffusion of RBS training is limited. Only 25 U.S. states require RBS training, while other states incentivize or have no RBS regulations. One diffusion limitation is that RBS training in the United Stated is typically offered in English from a mainstream culture point of view. 

Klein Buendel Senior Scientist, Dr. W. Gill Woodall, presented data on the systematic testing of a new Spanish language version of an evidence-based online RBS training program at the 47th Annual Meeting of the Kettil Bruun Society for Social and Epidemiological Research on Alcohol, May 30 to June 3, 2022 in Warsaw, Poland. WayToServe Español (WTS-E) is specifically tailored to Hispanic cultural beliefs, tastes, and experiences.

Spanish-speaking alcohol servers in Texas and New Mexico were involved in WTS-E development and evaluation. Focus groups and usability interviews were employed in systematic development. A randomized efficacy trial employed Spanish-speaking intoxicated pseudo-patron assessments of premises at baseline, 3 months, and 1 year post-training, with premises randomized to WTS-E or the usual RBS training. 

A randomized trial was conducted with 80 alcohol premises (40 onsite liquor by the drink premises, and 40 offsite package sales premises), with pseudo-intoxicated patron assessments at baseline, immediate post-intervention, and one-year follow-up. At baseline, the alcohol sales refusal was 21.6%, with a significant difference between states. The presentation examined the impact of a linguistically- and culturally-tailored online RBS training in Spanish-trading alcohol premises in two states with different alcohol RBS regulations. Implications for alcohol policy research were discussed.

The WTS-E research was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health (MD010405; Dr. W. Gill Woodall, Principal Investigator). Collaborating co-authors on the presentation included Dr. Robert Saltz from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation; Dr. Frank Perez and Dr. Areli Chacon Silva from the University of Texas at El Paso; Dr. Victoria Sanchez and Dr. Randall Starling from the University of New Mexico; and Dr. David Buller, Jeannyfer Camacho Reither, Lila Martinez, and Marita Brooks from Klein Buendel.

Promoting Social Distancing and COVID-19 Vaccine Intentions

Promoting Social Distancing and COVID-19 Vaccine Intentions

Dr. David Buller, Klein Buendel’s Director of Research, presented findings from a supplemental campaign to the Health Chat social media intervention for mothers and their teenage daughters at the 72nd Annual Conference of the International Communication Association in Paris, France, May 26-30, 2022.

Dr. David Buller Presenting at ICA

The COVID-19 pandemic is the most severe public health crisis in the past 100 years. To control the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised Americans to practice non-pharmaceutical interventions (social distancing) and federal and state governments mounted an unprecedented biomedical endeavor to develop and distribute vaccines and boosters.

Social media is playing a large role in disseminating information on the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is also being used to spread misinformation that affects prevention measures such as social distancing and vaccine acceptance.

A sample of 303 mothers of teen daughters were enrolled in a 3 (information source) x 4 (assessment period) randomized factorial trial from January to March 2021 to evaluate effects of information sources in a social media campaign addressing non-pharmaceutical interventions (social distancing), COVID-19 vaccinations, media literacy, and mother-daughter communication about COVID-19. Mothers received the 9-week campaign in one of three Facebook private groups in which posts contained information and links to government agencies, near-peer parents, or news media.

Mothers reported social distancing behavior and COVID-19 vaccine intentions for self and daughter in baseline and 3-, 6-, and 9-weeks post-randomization assessments.

In intent-to-treat analyses, social distancing behavior by mothers and daughters decreased over time but vaccine intentions increased. The decrease in social distancing by daughters was greater in the near-peer source group and lesser in the government source group. Higher perceived credibility of assigned information source increased social distancing and vaccine intentions. Decreasing case counts, relaxation of government restrictions, and vaccine distribution during the study may explain the decreased social distancing and increased vaccine intentions.

Campaign planners may be more effective when selecting information sources that audiences consider credible when promoting COVID-19 prevention as no source was more credible in general.

This research was funded by a grant and supplement from the National Cancer Institute (CA192652; Dr. David Buller and Dr. Sherry Pagoto, Multiple Principal Investigators). Authors on this presentation include Dr. Sherry Pagoto, Joseph Divito, Christie Idiong, and Haley Troy from the University of Connecticut; Dr. Kim Henry from Colorado State University; Dr. Katie Baker and Dr. Joel Hillhouse from East Tennessee State University; and Dr. David Buller, Dr. Barbara Walkosz, Dr. Gill Woodall, Julia Berteletti, and Alishia Kinsey from Klein Buendel.

Just Care for Dementia in Prisons

Just Care for Dementia in Prisons

Prison systems in the United States face sharply increased demands in caring for older people living in prisons. Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias (ADRD) are age-related diseases. Prison health, social, and security staff perceive they lack the skills and knowledge essential for identifying dementia and supporting people who are incarcerated and living with ADRDs.

A research team from Klein Buendel and The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) are launching a new research project to address ADRD care in prisons. The project is entitled “Computer-based Learning to Enhance ADRD Care in Prison: Just Care for Dementia.” The effort is being led by Dr. Susan Loeb from the Penn State College of Nursing and is being funded by a Phase I STTR grant to Klein Buendel from the National Institute on Aging (AG078103; Dr. Susan Loeb, Principal Investigator).

The mission of Corrections is to provide care, custody, and control for incarcerated individuals. Prisons are required by law to provide adequate care for growing numbers of older people who are incarcerated—a group who are disproportionately at risk for ADRD. This Phase I feasibility project focuses on research and development of highly interactive computer-based learning modules, for prison staff and people who are incarcerated and serving as peer caregivers to promote an integrated systems approach for enhancing the care of people with ADRD in prison.

The project will transform best practices in ADRD care into media-rich, highly interactive, computer-based educational module prototypes and conduct in-person usability testing of the learning module prototypes with corrections staff and peer caregivers to evaluate the user interface, ease of use, and perceived barriers in order to refine the product and optimize implementation in prison settings.

Dr. Loeb is a Professor in the College of Nursing and the Department of Medicine at Penn State University. Her research collaborators include: Dr. Donna Fick, a Professor in the College of Nursing and the Director of the Center for Geriatric Nursing at Penn State University; and Dr. Barbara Walkosz, a Senior Scientist at Klein Buendel. The ADRD modules will be programmed by Klein Buendel’s Creative Team.

Collaborator Spotlight:
Dr. Derek Griffith

Collaborator Spotlight:
Dr. Derek Griffith

Dr. Derek Griffith is a Founding Co-Director of the Racial Justice Institute, the Founder and Director of the Center for Men’s Health Equity, a Professor of Health Systems Administration and Oncology, and a Member of the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. He earned his Ph.D. from DePaul University in 2002 and completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health in 2004.

Dr. Griffith’s research focuses on strategies to improve African American men’s health, such as precision lifestyle medicine interventions to prevent and control obesity and other chronic diseases. Specifically, he studies the “links between notions of masculinity or manhood and health among men of color; the role of stress and coping processes in men’s health disparities; and how gender intersects with race, ethnicity, SES and other variables to shape men’s physical and mental health behavior and health outcomes.” 

In a current research project, Dr. Griffith is a Co-Investigator with Dr. Robert Newton from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana and Dr. David Buller from Klein Buendel on a study to develop and evaluate a smartphone app to increase and maintain physical activity in African American. The app is called FitBrothers and will include personalization, chronic disease health information, dietary information, competition activities, and incentives to promote and sustain physical activity. The study is being funded by a Small Business Technology Transfer grant to Klein Buendel from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (MD014947; Dr. Robert Newton and Dr. David Buller, Multiple Principal Investigators).

Dr. Griffith has received research grants as the Principal Investigator from the American Cancer Society, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and several institutes within the National Institutes of Health. He has authored over 140 peer-reviewed manuscripts and serves on the editorial boards of several public health and men’s health journals.

Dr. Griffith has received multiple distinguished awards and honors throughout his career, including:

  • The Tom Bruce Award from the Community-Based Public Health Caucus of the American Public Health Association in recognition of his research on eliminating health disparities that vary by race, ethnicity and gender;
  • Recognition as a Fellow of the American Academy of Health Behavior for his significant contributions to the field of health behavior research; and
  • Designation as one of 1,000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America by the Cell Mentor’s Community of Scholars.