Dr. Salmivalli is Professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of Turku, in Finland. She has 25 years of experience in research on bullying and its prevention. Professor Salmivalli has published numerous widely cited research articles, book chapters and books on peer relationships and bullying. Professor Salmivalli has been the chair of numerous large-scale projects funded by the Academy of Finland and other Finnish and European funding organizations. Professor Salmivalli led the development, implementation and evaluation of the highly successful KiVa program, with funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland.
The call for effective prevention of bullying has resulted in numerous school-based programs developed for this purpose. KiVa antibullying program was developed in Finland, with funding from the Finnish ministry of education and culture, and is now used by 90% of Finnish schools providing basic education (grades 1-9). Recently, the program has become available in several other countries as well. KiVa antibullying program involves systematic implementation of universal actions targeted at all students in a school, indicated actions targeted at those involved in bullying, and constant monitoring of the situation via online surveys. No other bullying prevention program has been evaluated as thoroughly as KiVa. There is strong evidence of the program's success in reducing bullying perpetration and victimization, including cyberbullying. Such changes seem to be due to three factors that KiVa is able to influence: 1) Students’ own attitudes related to bullying, 2) students’ perceptions of how their classmates respond to bullying, and 3) students’ perceptions of their teachers’ attitudes. Consequently, students’ levels of bullying perpetration are reduced. There are numerous other positive effects of the KiVa program, including increased school well-being and academic motivation, as well as reductions in social anxiety. In the presentation, the universal and indicated components of the KiVa program are highlighted, and the research on its effects in the short term (randomized controlled trial during the first year of implementation) and long term (now implemented for seven years in numerous Finnish schools) are summarized.