The implementation and effectiveness of the KiVa antibullying program in Finland

Document Type

Journal Article


Hogrefe Publishing


Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Exercise and Health Sciences/Child Health Promotion Research Centre




This article was originally published as: Salmivalli, C. , Poskiparta, E., Ahtola, A., & Haataja, A. (2013). The implementation and effectiveness of the KiVa antibullying program in Finland. European Psychologist, 18(2), 79-88. Original article available here


Bullying is a widespread problem in schools and communities around the world, and nationwide initiatives to prevent and reduce it have begun to emerge in European countries. In Finland, the effects of the national antibullying program, KiVa, have been evaluated first in a randomized controlled trial (2007-2009) and then during nationwide rollout across schools (since 2009). The KiVa program has been found to reduce bullying and victimization, while it increases empathy toward victimized peers and self-efficacy to defend them. Moreover, the program has produced reductions in reinforcement of the bullies' behavior. Finally, KiVa has been found to increase school liking and school motivation, whereas it has led to significant reductions in anxiety, depression, and negative peer perceptions among children and youth. The uptake of the program by Finnish schools has been remarkable, as 90% of the comprehensive schools are at present implementing KiVa. The paper describes the development of the KiVa program, evaluation of its effects, and its implementation across Finnish schools. Challenges in sustainability and highlevel implementation of the program are discussed.