Session: Leveraging Technology for the Prevention of Violence (Society for Prevention Research 27th Annual Meeting)

2-054 Leveraging Technology for the Prevention of Violence

Wednesday, May 29, 2019: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
Seacliff D (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
Theme: Development and Testing of Interventions
Symposium Organizer:
Elise Pas
School-aged youth are negatively impacted by multiple forms of aggression and bullying. Given this, violence prevention has been the focus of multiple school-based interventions, but with limited efficacy and uptake. The use of technology may fill gaps in the field of prevention and extant research. Improving the way in which teachers and students respond to instances of aggression and bullying may be optimized through the use of virtual or mixed reality. Both of these technological advancements allow for the learning and practicing of new skills experientially, which is particularly important in instances when skill development is otherwise challenging or risky to provide in real-world settings. Use of cell phone technology may improve acceptability and accessibility for conversing about bullying and aggression, and may in turn lead to greater buy-in and uptake of school-based prevention programming.

This symposium will include research regarding two mixed/virtual reality platforms and one app all of which are aimed at reducing youth violence and the experience of aggression and bullying by youth. Each presentation will provide participants with an understanding of how the specific technology is being used for violence prevention and what preliminary or small-scale trial data suggest with regard to effectiveness. Specifically, the first presentation will focus on the findings from a pseudo-randomized trial testing the impacts of a virtual reality intervention implemented with middle school students. This study demonstrates positive effects on student empathy, physical bullying, sense of school belonging, and a willingness to intervene as an active bystander. The second presentation will focus on the results of a randomized controlled trial testing the impacts of teacher coaching blended with mixed-reality practice on teachers’ detection, prevention, and responding to bullying through teacher self-report and classroom observations. This study demonstrates improvements in teachers’ responses to bullying, including intervening with perpetrators and victims, and seeking assistance from other professionals. Finally, the third presentation will provide a 7-week program for middle school youth call BullyDown, which covered communication, problem-solving, respect for diversity, identifying bullying, attitudes toward bullying, bystander intervention, coping with stress, empathy, perspective-taking, anger, and impulsivity and incorporated cellphone text messaging. Focus group data will be presented. An expert in technology-based public health interventions will serve as the discussant, synthesizing themes and future directions as well as facilitating a conversation with audience members.

* noted as presenting author
Exploring the Role of Virtual Reality in Bullying Prevention: Evaluation of a Pilot Trial
Katherine Ingram, BS, University of Florida; Dorothy Espelage, PhD, University of Florida; Gabriel "Joey" Merrin, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Jennifer Heinhorst, EdD, University of Florida; Alberto Valido, BS, University of Florida
Testing the Efficacy of Coaching Teachers to Detect, Prevent, and Respond to Bullying Using Mixed-Reality Simulation
Elise Pas, PhD, The Johns Hopkins University; Tracy Evian Waasdorp, PhD, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health; Catherine Bradshaw, PhD, University of Virginia
Development and Pilot Evaluation of Bullydown: A Text Messaging-Based Bullying Prevention Program for Middle School Students
Dorothy Espelage, PhD, University of Florida; Michele Ybarra, PhD, Center for Innovative Public Health Research (CiPHR); Tonya L. Prescott, BS, Center for Innovative Public Health Research (CiPHR); Alberto Valido, BS, University of Florida