Panel Paper: Do State Bullying Laws Impact Youth Violence Rates?

Thursday, November 7, 2013 : 3:40 PM
Boardroom (Ritz Carlton)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Alana Vivolo-Kantor1, John MacDonald2, Nancy Nicosia3, Kristin Holland1 and Jennifer Matjasko1, (1)Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (2)University of Pennsylvania, (3)RAND Corporation
A review of state bullying laws and policies by the Department of Education (ED) in 2011 revealed that 46 states had laws or policies in place designed to provide guidance to schools and communities on how to prevent, control, or take legal action against youth bullying. In most cases, these policies provide definitions and sanctions around bullying behavior. At the same time, they may also impact youth violence by communicating expectations for prosocial behavior between peers. ED characterized the policies along several dimensions and there is between-state variation in the coverage and expansiveness of these policies and the timing of their enactment. We explore whether states with greater coverage and more expansive bullying policies experience declines in youth violence rates. Using Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System and Uniform Crime Reports, we use a difference-in-differences design to compare youth violence and crime outcomes before and after the enactment of bullying laws in states relative to states with no laws on the books at that time.    Analyses will also explore whether certain policy components, such as whether the sanctions for bullying extend to behavior off campus, are associated with changes in youth violence over time.