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.