Intervention For Victimized Youth (IVY)

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What is IVY?

Researchers at Florida State University have created an innovative intervention for victims of peer victimization, known as IVY (interventions for Victimized Youth). The purpose of IVY is to decrease distress caused by being the victim of peer victimization. Just as ivy plants are strong and can flourish in difficult environments, the goal of IVY is for targets of peer victimization to thrive academically and socially despite challenging circumstances. IVY participants will be taught a variety of skills for coping with emotional difficulties, as well as strategies for how to protect themselves. To achieve this, several methods are used to teach the content, including psychoeducation, didactic teaching, modeling, role playing, and guided self-reflection.

The current version of IVY is designed for students (grades six through twelve). It is delivered in a small group format and consists of eight, one-hour long sessions. The sessions are as follows: 1) Introduction, 2) Coping and Relaxation Skills, 3) Share Your Story, 4) Connecting Experiences and Emotions, 5) Combatting Negative Thoughts, 6) Protect Yourself and Safely Help Others, 7) Social Problem-Solving Skills, 8) Closing and Celebration. Each session was designed to meet the two overarching goals of IVY: 1) reduce participants’ distress and increase coping skills and 2) teach participants how to protect themselves and others.

Why Was IVY Created?

Unfortunately, peer victimization is a common occurrence among youth. Rates of bullying have been reported to range from 19.5-22.8% for males and 12.8-23.7% for females (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014), these rates are likely much higher when considering the broader term of peer victimization. Along with the high prevalence rates, peer victimization has been linked to adverse academic outcomes and decreased mental health. Recent research (Crosby et al., 2010; Geoffroy et al., 2018; Idsoe et al., 2012; Ranney et al., 2015) has also supported the conceptualization of peer victimization as a trauma. Despite literature supporting the idea that peer victimization can be a form of trauma, most peer victimization interventions do not treat it as such and are not built upon trauma-specific practices. This realization led to the creation of IVY. As such, IVY was created based off of recent trauma literature and two existing evidence-based trauma intervention, Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.