Lit Reveiw Bullying W AudioPresentation Transcript
BULLYING: Nature or Nurture? Literature Review Submitted by: Tonita Clark
Causes & Consequences of Bullying
Research conducted by Kochenderfer-Ladd and Troop-Gordon in 2010 postulates that bullying (peer victimization) is more prevalent and likely to increase when there are certain risk factors present and contextually-certain environments. Their study found that risks factor such as: aggression, social withdrawal, social anxiety, peer rejection, relationships with mother, teachers and friends and emotion vulnerability; coupled with peer group contexts such as bystander behaviors and social group norms, are major feeding environments for bullying (Kochenderfer-Ladd & Troop-Gordon, 2010).
A second part of their study covered mediating processes such as school engagement, child’s perception of teacher’s responses to bullying, social helplessness and perceived family support. Basically, depending on how strongly some of these mediating factors are present, there is less likelihood of bullying continuing. These authors’ findings in regards to the consequences of long term bullying on an individual mirror other’s researchers’ findings that it causes stressors on children’s emotional cognitive resources that interferes with their ability to adapt to and engage in the demands of school. Further, these children have been shown to have lower levels of academic achievement, a greater likelihood of depression and suicidal ideation. Moreover, if bullying starts early in childhood, these children are more likely to experience psychopathology later in adolescence and early adulthood (Karna et al; Valasquez et al; as cited in Kochenderfer-Ladd & Troop-Gordon, 2010). It was concluded by these authors and further acknowledged that there are noticeable gaps in their understanding of the causes and consequences of bullying, that psycho-biological models are needed and have illuminated the important role of physiological systems in the emergence of peer harassment (Vaillancourt, deCantanzaro, Duku, & Muir 2009; as cited in Kochenderfer-Ladd & Troop-Gordon, 2010). Also, it was acknowledged that this field is still well within its infancy and findings regarding how biological markers are associated with interpersonal stressors are often inconsistent.
In a study conducted by Pornari and Wood (2010), these authors asserted that cognitive mechanisms are contributing factors to peer bullying. Various theories of aggressive behavior have proposed cognitive mechanisms through which such behavior are rationalized and justified and have applied to the area of peer aggression in school contexts (Pornari & Wood, 2010).
Social information processing theory maintains that aggressive youths have deficits in their processing of social information specifically during the cues interpretation phase, so in ambiguous social situations they tend to attribute hostile intent to others (Crick and Dodge, 1994; as cited in Pornari &Wood, 2010). So far through these findings there have been theories of risks factors and environment/context and social cognitive forces coupled with aggression as being causes of bullying. This, thus, supports the hypothesis that much is to be discerned about the causes of bullying before “successful” prevention and interventions programs can be implemented.
In the study conducted by Bonanno and Hymel (2010), the authors stated their agreement with Kochenderfer & Troop-Gordon (2010) that bullying is more prevalent when certain risk factors are present, most importantly when victims feel “social hopelessness”. They investigated how this factor (feeling of lack of support from society, teachers, friends, parents etc.), lead to suicide. The authors found that the more socially hopeless someone becomes the greater is their risk for having suicidal thoughts (Bonanno & Hymel, 2010). These findings support the hypothesis that programs are needed now in our schools for addressing bullying and that public policy is just now being implemented to assist our schools with this epidemic. Unfortunately, many incidents of suicide have been well publicized in the U. S. and from countries around the world on individuals committing suicide in response to being victimized by their peers (Marr & Field, 2001; Olweus, 1993; as cited in Bonanno & Hymel, 2010). These tragedies clearly demonstrate that preventive/intervention methods are in need, now.
Suggested Solutions to Bullying
In this particular study conducted by Klomek, Sourander and Gould (2010) the authors suggested that bullies themselves should be screened for psychological problems, along with addressing risks factors for suicide and differences in the sexes risk profiles. These authors postulated that children who are involved in bullying behavior should be actively screened for psychiatric problems, school based screening should be implemented simply by means of parent/teacher symptom checklists; if frequent bully has a high level of psychiatric symptoms he or she should be referred for further psychological assessment and/or treatment (Klomek et al, 2010). This is the first article so far that actually makes a specific suggestion as to a way for schools to take steps in preventive measures. These authors are in align with Troop-Gordon (2010), Olweus, (1993), and Pornari & Wood; in their findings that long term bullying causes psychiatric problems later in adolescents life, leads to suicide in some cases, and can have long term detrimental effects. They state that females in particulars are more likely to commit suicide from bullying as opposed to males and lastly, future research should continue to identify specific causal paths between bullying and suicide. This supports the hypothesis that bullying could stem from many aspects; these authors are the first to suggest bullying behavior to be related to possible psychological or mental disorders; which should be addressed somewhat through the schools (calling for public policy implementation).
Why is Bullying only recently being addressed and how?
Srabstein & Leventhal (2010) in their article bring to attention that bullying is a major public health problem that demands the concerted and coordinated time and attention of health-care providers, policy-makers and families. They go on to say that the evolving awareness about the morbidity and mortality associated with bullying has helped give this psychosocial hazard a modest level of worldwide public health attention but its not enough (Srabstein & Leventhal, 2010). They agree with other findings that long-term bullying consequences extend into adulthood. Further, they assert that all of the recent multiple reported cases of death associated with bullying has led to legislative initiatives around the world. They further claim that enacted legislation has placed the responsibility of prevention on the shoulders of organizational (educational or workplace) management with no apparent input expected from the public health sector. These authors postulate that legislation needs to develop health policies for bullying prevention. They suggest that preventative interventions should include whole community awareness campaigns about the nature of bullying and its dangers (Srabstein & Leventhal, 2010). In addition, they suggest that all bullying incidents (workplace or school) should be reported to organization leadership which should ensure consistent and organized response, including support of the victim and counseling for the perpetrator by sensitizing him or her to the harm they have inflicted (Srabstein & Leventhal, 2010) ”
This article makes suggestions as to how public policy could ensure effective means to stop this behavior along with continued care to prevent further problems. They want legislature to ensure that the health services will be required to alleviate physical and emotional consequences of bullying as well as help those who continue bullying behavior (Srabstein & Leventhal, 2010). They go on to suggest that policy makers create advisory groups to provide recommendations and develop guidelines for a whole-community strategy for the prevention, intervention and treatment of bullying-related pubic health risks (Srabstein & Leventhal, 2010). It is believed that all of the above suggestions would go a long way to ensure that bullying is addressed successfully. These authors call for public policy enactment along with health services to alleviate this problem. The question remains and supports the hypothesis “why hasn’t this been done already?”
Preventive & Reparative Measures Will they succeed?
An interesting study was conducted by Bell, Racznski and Horne (2010), on a Bullying Intervention and Prevention Program geared for “teachers” and as to whether it was effective. The evaluation was on an abbreviated version of the Bully Busters program, a psycho-educationally based group intervention and prevention program design to increase teachers’ knowledge and use of bully interventions skills, as well as teacher self-efficacy in intervening with bullying so as to subsequently effect change in the school climate (Bell et al, 2010). These authors state that a number of programs have been developed over the last few decades that attempt to reduce and/or prevent the effects of bullying and aggression (Horne, Orpinas, Newman-Carlson & Bartolomucci, 2004; as cited in Bell et al, 2010). Do they work? They ascertained that Group models appear to be an efficient and cost-effective means for effecting change in the school systems when they addressed (in some form or the other) the following: 1) the interventions are designed to positively impact school climate 2) the interventions are designed to positively impact the teachers ability to intervene in bully victim dyads; and 3) the intervention are designed to positively impact the bullies and victims themselves (Bell, et al 2010). Thus, the best practices for preventing or reducing bullying behavior in schools involve a multilevel and comprehensive approach that impacts the school and classroom climate, the teachers and the students (Whitted & Dupper, 2005, as cited in Bell et al, 2010). This answers one of the hypothesized questions “will our reparative or re-directive actions work?” According to these authors there is hope and some programs are successful.
Prevention & Intervention Programs
The review of existing programs on aggression was examined by Leff, Waasdorp and Crick (2010) to glean further insight into the question will the existing prevention/interventions programs succeed and effectively treat our bullying epidemic? Here is what these authors’ findings revealed. Research suggests that involvement in relational aggression is associated with serious adjustment problems, including concurrent and future social maladjustment, internalizing problems, and school avoidance (Leff et al, 2010). That despite the burgeoning literature focusing on the harmful and damaging nature of relationally aggressive behavior, this research as only recently begun to be used to inform school-based prevention and intervention programming (Leff et al, 2010). This further supports the hypothesis that bullying is only recently being addressed in our schools. They further postulate after evaluating nine prevention/intervention programs that strengths of the programs included: the outcome demonstrated adequate reliability and validity across several prior samples and studies; both content and process implementation were monitored and found to be extremely high; and teacher acceptability for the program was rated favorably. The limitations were: although observers were blind to intervention status, implementation observers were not (could be some bias) and another limitation is that the study was underpowered and was only able to be evaluated at the classroom level (Leff, et al, 2010). Basically, they concluded that their findings showed the programs were successful to an extent, that the program requires a considerably more systematic trial in the future to ensure that it is evaluated thoroughly; the program also may be strengthened by adding a parent or family component; and finally, it may be helpful to combine this program with other developmentally appropriate activities or programs that address other aspects of relational aggression in addition to social exclusion (Leff et al, 2010). Simply stated; it could be refined more. This article did not really address if the program should be offered to other schools, because it was proven to work. There appeared to be some hesitation from the authors to deem it successful without a doubt, confirming that better programs on prevention/intervention are needed to address bullying in our schools.
Preventive & Reparative Measures (cont.)
Dan Olweus (2010) designed a Bullying Prevention Program (Bergen Project) and this article evaluates whether it was successful when used. Three different studies were conducted and it was found that in the first one conducted from 1983-1985: there were marked (and statistically highly significant) reductions by 50% or more in self reported bully/victim problems for the period studied (over 8 months); the study applied to both girls and boys and students from all grades; there were also clear reductions in general antisocial behavior such as vandalism fighting with the police, pilfering, drunkenness and truancy and in addition there was registered marked improvements in regards to various aspect of social climate of the class; improved order and discipline, more positive social relationships and more positive attitude to schoolwork and school (Olweus, 2010). The two following studies were not so positive when reviewed and there wasn’t any significant decline in deviant behaviors outside the school environment either (Olweus, 2010). This author and creator of this program blames the differences in findings on the Hawthorne Effect. During the first study, there was a lot of media attention on the schools and progress was actively being reported, therefore affecting the attitudes and behaviors of the participants, schools and communities because “eyes” were on them. Therefore, the question remains are there really any effective programs in force in our schools? It has been found through previous articles that programs on intervention and preventions are just beginning to be introduced (is this why – they don’t have effective programs)? What all these articles postulate is further research is needed on causation to better enable programs on intervention and prevention to be developed, public policy and procedures are in need to address this bullying epidemic in our schools – across the board; teachers, administrators and parents need to become more active and aware and do their part and the bullies themselves need support also as their aggressive behavior is an indicator is most cases that there’s socio-psychological issues happening with them. The hypothesis is somewhat supported; society continues to not be prepared for our bullying epidemic and is still seeking answers and solutions.
Conclusion from Review
In conclusion, research findings from the articles reviewed support and indicate that when certain risk factors are present in the environment, that environment becomes a feeding ground for bullying behaviors (Kochenderfer-Ladd & Troop-Gordon, 2010). Further research shows that long term bullying, especially if an individual is exposed to this behavior early in life, has detrimental psychological effect long after adolescence into adulthood (Kochenderfer-Ladd & Troop-Gordon, 2010; Olweus, 1993; and Pornari & Wood, 2010). Other findings suggest and support that when there is lack of social support and help for bullied victims, suicidal ideation is likely (Bonanno & Hymel, 2010; Kochenderfer-Ladd & Troop-Gordon, 2010). New studies conducted imply that public policy that includes health services, along with prevention and intervention programs are needed in order to effectively deal with this bullying epidemic (Srabstein & Leventhal, 2010). These articles stipulate that there is a need for prevention and intervention programs that pass validity, reliability and duplication before implementation into the school systems to ensure successful outcomes (Bell, Racznski & Horne, 2010). As of now, only a few programs appear to be successful with findings that may or may not be biased. Lastly, from this research on bullying and after careful review of these articles questions remain and thus it is evident that further research is needed on what causes bullying behaviors “in” individuals other than environmental risk factors. Through these findings it was discovered that there is a need for studies to be conducted on possible causal factors – psychobiological, such as mental disorders (bipolar, borderline or sociopathic behavior); psychological problems (case of the abused becoming the abuser – from victim to bully); or genetic factors (aggressive tendencies in parents/chemical imbalance); all of which could be used for prevention and intervention if recognized, assessed and treated (Kochenderfer-Ladd & Troop-Gordon, 2010; Pornari & Wood, 2010).
Bell, C, D.; Raczynski, Katherine A.; Horne, Arthur M. (2010). Bully Busters abbreviated: Evaluation of a group-based bully intervention and prevention program. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, ISSN: 1089-2699 . PsycINFO Database Record.
Bonanno, R. A., & Hymel, S. (2010). Beyond hurt feelings: Investigating why some victims of bullying are at greater risk for suicidal ideation. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly , 56(3), 420-440. Retrieved from EBSCO host .
Heilbron, N., & Prinstein, M. J. (2010). Adolescent peer victimization, peer status, suicidal ideation, and non-suicidal self-injury. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly , 56(3), 388-419. Retrieved from EBSCO host .
Klomek, A., Sourander, A., & Gould, M. (2010). The association of suicide and bullying in childhood to young adulthood: a review of cross-sectional and longitudinal research findings. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry , 55(5), 282-288. Retrieved from EBSCO host .
Kochenderfer-Ladd, B., & Troop-Gordon, W. (2010). Introduction to the special issues, contexts, causes, and consequences. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly , 56(3), 221-230. Retrieved from EBSCO host .
Leff, S. S., Waasdorp, T., & Crick, N. R. (2010). A review of existing relational aggression programs: strengths, limitations, and future directions. School Psychology Review , 39(4), 508-535. Retrieved from EBSCO host .
Olweus, D. (2005). A useful evaluation, design, and effects of the Olweus bullying prevention program. Psychology Crime & Law, 11 (4), 389-402. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/55894651?accountid=34899
Pornari, C. D., & Wood, J. (2010). Peer and cyber aggression in secondary school students: the role of moral disengagement, hostile attribution bias, and outcome expectancies. Aggressive Behavior , 36(2), 81-94. doi:10.1002/ab.20336.
Srabstein, J. C., & Leventhal, B. L. (2010, June). Prevention of bullying-related morbidity and mortality: a call for public health policies. Bulletin of the World Health Organization . pp. 403-403A. Retrieved from EBSCO host .
Troop-Gordon, W., & Quenette, A. (2010). Children's perceptions of their teacher's responses to students' peer harassment. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly , 56(3), 333-360. Retrieved from EBSCO host .