Abstract: Gender Differences in Outcomes of Bullying Prevention Programs: A Meta-Analysis (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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241P Gender Differences in Outcomes of Bullying Prevention Programs: A Meta-Analysis

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Reeve Kennedy, PhD, Graduate Student, University of New Hampshire, Durham, Durham, NH
Background & Purpose

The present study aims to explore the differential impact of bullying prevention programs on traditional bullying victimization among girls versus boys using an independent subtypes meta-analysis that examines prevention program outcomes by gender. The aims of the present study are: (1) to determine if prevention programs are effectively reducing bullying victimization among girls and among boys; (2) to compare whether there is a significant difference in the effect of prevention programs between girls versus boys; and (3) to assess whether methodological differences, such as the type of research design, the location of study, the grade of participants, the year of publication, or the type of publication impact these between and within gender outcomes.


A systematic search of three online databases was conducted of program evaluations published between 1990 and 2018. In order to be included, evaluation studies must be published in English, have a youth sample, and include outcomes of the prevention program broken down by gender. The abstract review returned 352 articles, after full-text review the search yielded a final sample of 22 articles. Data was extracted from each article, and the effect size data was converted to odds ratios and log odds for analysis.

Under the independent subgroups meta-analysis, summary effects were computed for boys and girls separately, a Q-test based on analysis of variance was used to determine whether there was a statistically significant difference between the boys and girls. Z-scores were used to determine the within group difference, essentially whether the prevention programs reduced reports of boy or girl bullying individually. A series of moderator tests were conducted using the same methods of analysis as a way to isolate the sample based on the methodological features of the included studies.


The overall whole sample results suggest that bullying prevention programs are effective at reducing bullying among boys, but not girls; however, further analysis revealed that the programs are effective for both boys and girls outside of the US, and ineffective for both boys and girls within the US. Overall (both within and outside US), boys who participated in a bullying prevention program had 15% higher odds of a reduction in bullying victimization compared to boys in the control group, while boys and girls outside of the US had 31% and 30% higher odds of a reduction bullying victimization.

Conclusions and Implications

The findings suggest that prevention programs are largely effective at reducing bullying victimization, particularly among boys, but that there might be a gap in prevention among girls overall, and for both boys and girls within the US. Future research needs to explore the impact of prevention programs on girls, as well as the divergent effect of programs within the US compared to internationally.