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STAC Bullying Intervention Program

STAC is a copyrighted brief bullying intervention program for schools that teaches students to act as “defenders” on behalf of targets of bullying.  STAC stands for the four bullying intervention strategies: “Stealing the Show,” “Turning it Over,” “Accompanying Others,” and “Coaching Compassion.”  STAC was designed to place a low demand on schools both in terms of costs and time commitment.

STAC strategies

  • Stealing the Show:  Students learn to use humor or distraction to interrupt a bullying situation.
  • Turning it Over:  Students identify safe adults at school to report bullying.
  • Accompanying Others:  Students learn to support a student who is a target of bullying.
  • Coaching Compassion:  Students learn to gently confront perpetrators safely and effectively.

Content of the STAC Training

The initial 90-minute training includes didactic and experiential components followed by two, 15-minute booster sessions to support students to act as “defenders” on behalf of peers who are targets of bullying.  The initial training is delivered through an audiovisual presentation with information about bullying and age-appropriate ways to use the four STAC strategies. The training concludes with students breaking into small groups to practice the strategies.  During booster sessions, the school counselor talks with students about their experiences using the strategies, provides feedback, and brainstorms effective ways to implement and combine strategies.

Implementing STAC at your school

STAC is stand-alone program that consists of a 90-minute training conducted by the school counselor followed by 2, bi-weekly, 15-minute booster sessions. The training can take place in classrooms as part of the school counseling program and is specifically designed to meet the time constraints of K-12 school environments. If you are interested in more information about purchasing, implementing, or researching the STAC program, please contact Dr. Aida Midgett at aidamidgett@boisestate.edu or Katy Ritter at katyritter@boisestate.edu

Effectiveness of STAC

Researchers have published many studies that show the STAC program is effective in addressing bullying at school.

Students trained in the STAC program report increased:

  • knowledge of bullying
  • knowledge of the STAC strategies
  • confidence to intervene as “defenders”  
  • sense of school belonging
  • self-esteem

Further, studies have shown that the STAC program decreases:

  • bullying perpetration and victimization at school
  • depression symptoms for students who are trained
  • anxiety symptoms for students who are trained

Select Publications Investigating the STAC Program

Establishing School Counselors as Leaders in Bullying Curriculum Delivery: Evaluation of a Brief, School-Wide Bystander Intervention

The authors evaluated a brief, school-wide, bystander bullying intervention (STAC) designed to establish school counselors as leaders in curriculum delivery. Elementary school students trained in the program reported an increase in perceived knowledge and confidence to act as “defenders,” utilizing the STAC strategies when they observed bullying, and a decrease in bullying victimization and perpetration at a 4-month follow-up. We discuss implications for school counselors.

Read about counselors as leaders (PDF)

Training Students Who Occasionally Bully to Be Peer Advocates: Is a Bystander Intervention Effective in Reducing Bullying Behavior?

Bullying is a major public health problem faced by youth today. This randomized controlled study evaluated a brief, counselor-led bystander bullying intervention for elementary school students with a history of occasionally bullying (N = 54). The intervention—stealing the show, turning it over, accompanying others, and coaching compassion (STAC)—is designed to train students to intervene as peer advocates when they witness bullying situations at school. Students in the STAC intervention group reported a significantly lower level of bullying perpetration compared to students in the waitlist control group. Findings suggest that training students who bully to be peer advocates may be a promising approach to bullying prevention. The authors discuss future directions for research and implications for counselors.

Read about training students to be peer advocates (PDF)

Evaluation of a Brief, School-Based Bullying Bystander Intervention for Elementary School Students

Researchers have found that elementary school student bystanders benefit from intervening on behalf of students who are victims of bullying (Olenik-Shemesh, Heiman, & Eden, 2015). However, research is needed that evaluates the impact of bystander interventions on students trained to intervene as “defenders.” This study addresses this gap in research by evaluating the efficacy of a brief, school-based bystander intervention on the socioemotional adjustment of elementary school students trained to act as defenders to intervene in bullying incidences.

Read about bullying bystander intervention (PDF)

The Phenomenological Experience of Student - Advocates Trained as Defenders to Stop School Bullying

The authors investigated lived experiences of student-advocates trained in a brief, bystander bullying intervention program to stop bullying as “defenders.” Personal values, taking perceived risks, implementation of bullying intervention strategies, and positive sense of self were core themes with a textural-structural description that helped define students’ experiences. Implications and future research are discussed.

Read about training defenders (PDF)

Bystander Bullying Psychoeducation Program With Middle School Students: A Preliminary Report

A randomized controlled study evaluated a brief, bystander bullying intervention for junior high school students. Students in both groups reported an increase in knowledge and confidence to act as defenders and to utilize strategies to intervene on behalf of victims of bullying. Findings suggest possible carry-over effects from the intervention group to control group. Students in the intervention group, however, reported a significantly greater ability to identify of bullying and a decrease in anxiety (p = .06) relative to the control group. There were no differences in reported depression between the two groups. Implications for school counselors are discussed.

Read about the study (pdf)

Randomized Controlled Study Evaluating a Brief, Bystander Bullying Intervention with Junior High School Students

A randomized controlled study evaluated a brief, bystander bullying intervention for junior high school students. Students in both groups reported an increase in knowledge and confidence to act as defenders and to utilize strategies to intervene on behalf of victims of bullying. Findings suggest possible carry-over effects from the intervention group to control group. Students in the intervention group, however, reported a significantly greater ability to identify of bullying and a decrease in anxiety (p = .06) relative to the control group. There were no differences in reported depression between the two groups. Implications for school counselors are discussed.

Read about the study (PDF)

Efficacy of a Brief, Bystander Bullying Intervention

The purpose of this paper is to present a study that can serve as a model of program evaluation for school personnel that can be used to improve services and demonstrate program efficacy to key stakeholders.  The study presented in this paper evaluated the impact of a brief, bystander bullying program (STAC) on depressive symptoms and passive suicidal ideation among middle school students in a rural, low-income community (N = 130).  This topic was selected as there is limited research examining the efficacy of bystander programs on improving mental health outcomes for students trained to intervene.  Results of the study indicated students trained in the STAC program reported reductions in depressive symptoms and passive suicidal ideation at a 6-week follow-up compared to an increase in symptoms reported by students in the control group.  We discuss these findings and the use of program evaluation by school personnel to support prevention programming.

Read the Bystander Bullying Intervention study (PDF)

Efficacy of a Brief, School-Based Bystander Bullying Intervention on Alcohol Use Among High School Students

We examined the efficacy of a brief, bystander bullying intervention on reducing alcohol use among high school students (n = 61).  As hypothesized, high-risk drinkers in the intervention group reported reduced drinking compared to control students at a 30-day follow-up.

Read the School-Based Bystander Bullying Intervention study (PDF)

Impact of a Brief, Bullying Bystander Intervention on Depressive Symptoms

Researchers evaluated the impact of a brief, bystander bullying intervention (STAC) on depressive symptoms among high school students using a randomized controlled design.  Results of path analyses provided support for a mediational model in which the intervention was associated with an increase in sense of school belonging, which in turn was associated with a reduction in depressive symptoms.  We discuss implications for high school counselors and counselors in other settings working with adolescents.

Read the Bullying Bystander Intervention on Depressive Symptoms study (PDF)

Contacts

If you are interested in learning more about the STAC program, please contact Dr. Aida Midgett or Katy Ritter.

  • Dr. Aida Midgett

    Dr. Aida Midgett

    Dr. Midgett’s research currently focuses on continuing to improve the STAC program and evaluate its efficacy in combating bullying and improving socio-emotional outcomes for students trained.  Dr. Midgett and her research team initially developed the STAC program for middle and elementary school settings, but she and her team have also conducted several studies to adapt STAC to be appropriate for high school students, as well as for students attending diverse, underserved middle schools.  Currently, her research team is working on the development of a STAC teacher training module. STAC has been implemented in many K-12 schools in various parts of Idaho.

    Dr. Midgett’s research currently focuses on continuing to improve the STAC program and evaluate its efficacy in combating bullying and improving socio-emotional outcomes for students trained.  Dr. Midgett and her research team initially developed the STAC program for middle and elementary school settings, but she and her team have also conducted several studies to adapt STAC to be appropriate for high school students, as well as for students attending diverse, underserved middle schools.  Currently, her research team is working on the development of a STAC teacher training module. STAC has been implemented in many K-12 schools in various parts of Idaho.

  • Katy Ritter

    Director of Technology Transfer

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