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Long-term effects of school-wide interventions and school environment using longitudinal register data

Detrimental consequences, both for individuals and society, of academic failure, internalizing and externalizing mental health problems during childhood and adolescence have generated demand for preventive interventions, evidence-based practices, and formative assessments in Norway.

Two major school-wide interventions, the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) and the School-Wide Positive Behavior Support model (SWPBS, named PALS in Norway), have been implemented in more than 680 Norwegian schools during the period 2000-2010, with aims of reducing behavior problems and bullying.

The current research project aims at identifying long-term effects of these two major school-wide interventions by providing rigorous effects estimations on a wide range of individual student

Outcomes, including subsequent educational careers, employment, welfare use, crime and internalizing problems by analyses of population-wide, longitudinal, attrition-free register data combined with information about indicators of implementation fidelity and earlier program effects at the school level.

Up to now, there are no studies of the possible long-term effects of these programs on outcomes such as educational achievement and drop-out, labor market success, antisocial behavior and internalizing mental health problems. Even if such effects turn out to be small, the gains for individuals and society are likely to be substantial. Several research literatures argue for the likely existence of multiplier effects both over the life course and within peer groups. Reductions in bullying and behavior problems may thus affect outcomes for all children exposed to the programs, and improve their life chances in multiple domains during adolescence and early adulthood.

The study will extend existing knowledge of positive short-term intervention effects, by linking individual program exposure to a broad range of outcomes - within and beyond the school - measured during adolescence and early adulthood.

The study will also quantify long-term effects on the school environment in terms of student experiences and study how long-term intervention effects (if any) vary with implementation quality, gender and risk group status.

Credible evidence is fostered by organizing the project as a consortium, with program- independent data collection and analyses in collaboration with program purveyors who hold detailed knowledge of the interventions. The research project reflects a need to foster innovative, multidisciplinary research on the effects of school interventions and learning environment and develop empirical strategies combining school intervention and student outcomes from register data.

Time frame: Autumn 2014 to end of 2018


  • The Frisch Center
  • Statistics Norway
  • UniResearch, University of Bergen
  • University of Oslo; Faculty of Social Science
  • The Norwegian Center for Child Behavioral Development

The project also will cooperate closely with highly experienced foreign researcher; Catherine P. Bradshaw (John Hopkins Center for Prevention of Youth Violence, USA), Donna Cross (Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Western Australia), and Bo Vinnerljung (Department of Social Work, Sweden).

Finances: The project is financially supported by the Research Council of Norway through the FINNUT program (Application Number: ES532372 Project Number: -1). In addition, two of the co-partners will contribute with own research resources, equivalent to 1-2 man years.

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