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Bullying is the most common form of youth aggression. Although 49 of all 50 states in the U.S. have an anti-bullying law in place to prevent bullying, little is known about the effectiveness of these laws. Our objective was to measure the effectiveness of Iowa’s anti-bullying law in preventing bullying and improving teacher response to bullying.
Sixth, 8th, and 11th grade children who completed the 2005, 2008 and 2010 Iowa Youth Survey were included in this study (n = 253,000). Students were coded according to exposure to the law: pre-law for 2005 survey data, one year post-law for 2008 data, and three years post-law for 2010 data. The outcome variables were: 1) being bullied (relational, verbal, physical, and cyber) in the last month and 2) extent to which teachers/adults on campus intervened with bullying. Generalized linear mixed models were constructed with random effects.
The odds of being bullied increased from pre-law to one year post-law periods, and then decreased from one year to three years post-law but not below 2005 pre-law levels. This pattern was consistent across all bullying types except cyberbullying. The odds of teacher intervention decreased 11 % (OR = 0.89, 95 % CL = 0.88, 0.90) from 2005 (pre-law) to 2010 (post-law).
Bullying increased immediately after Iowa’s anti-bullying law was passed, possibly due to improved reporting. Reductions in bullying occurred as the law matured. Teacher response did not improve after the passage of the law.
OAfund, Violence, School, Law
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Injury Epidemiology 2016 3:15 DOI: 10.1186/s40621-016-0080-9
© The Author(s) 2016
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