Bullying: Information from UB's Alberti Center
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Bullying: Information from UB's Alberti Center



Presented to Child and Family Services on November 16, 2011.

Presented to Child and Family Services on November 16, 2011.



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  • As a parent, I believe this represents one of the biggest challenges in raising kids. Parents should teach children to be assertive and emphasize peaceful ways to solve problems and encourage kids to stand up for themselves verbally, not violently. Help them develop social skills, from a young age and encourage your children to play with others and to be friends with many different people.As a way of helping everyone especially the parents, who find it quite hard to manage time, I found this great application which featured a safety app which gets me connected to a Safety Network or escalate my call to the nearest 911 when needed, it has other cool features that are helpful for your kids with just a press of a Panic Button. Check it here: http://www.SafeKidZone.com/
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  • In my own opinion, I perfectly believe that parents are the ones held liable from any actions that our child has done. And as a responsible parents we as well needs to find a solution if in case we'll find any bad behavior that our children act. In line with this, I was searching any safety device that is good for my child. Then I found this sites that provides a protection for children from a safety mobile protection that can access family, friends and 911 in times of emergency. I just downloaded their application on my Blackberry phone. Here's you can find it http://safekidzone.com/
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  • Research from the Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education on 37 school shootings, including Columbine, found that almost three-quarters of student shooters felt bullied, threatened, attacked or injured by others. In fact, several shooters reported experiencing long-term and severe bullying and harassment from their peers

Bullying: Information from UB's Alberti Center Bullying: Information from UB's Alberti Center Presentation Transcript

  • Amanda B. Nickerson, PhD Associate Professor and Director Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention University at Buffalo [email_address] gse.buffalo.edu/alberticenter November 16, 2011
  • Overview of Presentation
    • Overview of Bullying
    • A Role for All: The Social Context of Bullying
    • About the Alberti Center
    • Q & A
  • Bullying Intentional, usually repeated acts of verbal, physical, or written aggression by a peer (or group of peers) operating from a position of strength or power with the goal of hurting the victim physically or damaging status and/or social reputation Olweus (1978); United States Department of Education (1998)
  • Bullying vs. Teasing vs. Conflict Teasing : Fun, good-natured, “give-and-take” between friends to get both parties to laugh Bullying : Based on a power imbalance; intent to cause psychological or physical harm; usually repeated Conflict : A struggle, dispute, or misunderstanding between two equal forces
  • Prevalence
    • Estimates vary WIDELY, but according to student self-report...
        • 20-25% have bullied at least once
          • 5-20% bully consistently
        • 15-40% are targets of bullying
          • 20-25% are bullied regularly
          • ~ 18-20% are cyber-bullied
          • 1-2% are extreme victims who experience severe traumatization or distress
    Carylyle & Steinman (2007); Cowie (2000); Nansel et al. (2001); Perry, Kusel, & Perry (1988); Skiba & Fontanini (2000)
  • When and Where Does Bullying Occur?
    • Pre-K through late high school (and beyond); peaks in middle school
        • Physical bullying declines as children get older
        • Social, verbal, and cyberbullying continue through high school
    • Anywhere; most likely in less closely supervised areas
        • Bus, locker room, playground, lunch, hallways, and everywhere (for cyberbullying)
  • Gender Differences
    • Boys
        • More direct, physical bullying
        • Bully more frequently than girls
        • Bully both boys and girls
    • Girls
        • More indirect
        • More subtle, hard to detect, and often occurs in groups
        • Tend to target other girls of the same age
        • Cyberbullying slightly more common than for males
    Banks (2000); Cook, Williams, Guerra, Kim, & Sadek, (2010); Crick & Grotpeter, (1995); Hinduja & Patchin, (2009); Hoover & Oliver, (1996); Nansel et al., (2001); Olweus, (2002); Underwood, (2003)
  • Common Characteristics of Students who Bully
    • Desire for power and control
    • Get satisfaction from others’ suffering
    • Justify their behavior (“he deserved it”)
    • More exposed to physical punishment
    • More likely to be depressed
    • Engage in other risky and delinquent behaviors
        • Alcohol and drug use
        • Fighting
    Batsche & Knoff (1994); Beaver, Perron, & Howard, (2010); Olweus (1993); Swearer et al. (in press); Vaughn, Bender, DeLisi, (in press)
  • Characteristics of Children who are Bullied
    • Have a position of relative weakness
        • Age, ethnic background, financial status, disability, sexual orientation
    • Most are passive and lack assertiveness
        • Do nothing to invite aggression
        • Do not fight back when attacked
        • May relate better to adults than peers
    • Fewer provoke others (provocative victims or bully-victims)
        • Offend, irritate, tease others
        • Reactive; fight back when attacked
      • Boivin, Poulin, & Vitaro (1994); Hodges & Perry (1999); Olweus (1978, 1993, 2001);
      • Schwartz (2000); Snyder et al. (2003)
  • What are Signs that Child May be Bullied?
      • Unexplained illnesses, cuts/bruises
      • Avoidance of school and social situations
      • Passive, unassertive, lacking friends
      • Change in behavior
        • Not interested in doing things
        • Withdrawn
      • Feelings of self-blame or hopelessness
  • What are Signs that Child May be Bullying Others?
      • Refers to others negatively (wimp, loser)
      • Lack empathy
      • Strong need to win or be the best
      • Hostile/defiant attitude
      • Angers easily
      • Gets in verbal or physical fights
      • Blames others
  • Consequences for Youth who Bully
    • More likely to experience legal or criminal troubles as adults (even after controlling for other risk factors)
    • Poor ability to develop and maintain positive relationships in
    • later life
      • Andershed, Kerr, & Stattin (2001); Farrington (2009); Farrington, & Ttofi (2009, 2011); Oliver, Hoover, & Hazler (1994); Olweus (1993); Ttofi & Farrington (2008)
  • Consequences for Targets of Bullying
    • Emotional distress
    • Loneliness, peer rejection
    • Desire to avoid school
    • Increased anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation; low self-esteem
    • In some cases, may respond with extreme violence (two-thirds of school shooters were victims of bullying)
    Boivin, Hymel, & Bukowski (1995); Boulton & Underwood (1992); Crick & Bigbee (1998); Egan & Perry (1998); Hinduja, & Patchin, (2009); Kochenderfer & Ladd (1996); Nickerson & Sltater (2009); Olweus (1993); Perry et al. (1988)
  • A Role for All: The Social Context of Bullying Adapted from Swearer & Espelage (2004)
  • Bullying and Bystanders
    • Peers see 85% of bullying ( most join in, some ignore, small number intervene)
    • Peers are influential in early adolescence, when they are more supportive of bullying and less likely to intervene
        • Bullying = higher social status in a group
        • Adolescents seek out peers who display more independent, aggressive as opposed to more adult-like, conforming behaviors
        • “ Culture of silence
      • Charach et al. (1995); Hawkins, Pepler, & Craig
  • Bullying and School Environment
    • Bullying is more likely to thrive in:
        • Unsupportive or unhealthy school climates
        • Environments lacking in sense of belonging for students and strong relationships among and between students, teachers, and families
        • Schools where adults ignore or dismiss bullying behaviors
        • Schools who serve students who are not academically engaged
    Doll, Song, Champion, & Jones, (2011); Holt, Keyes, & Koenig, (2011); Kasen, Johnson, Chen, Crawford, & Cohen, (2011); Swearer (in press)
  • Bullying and Families
    • For children who bully, there may be…
        • Less warmth, involvement, supervision
        • Lack of clear, consistent rules
        • Harsh/corporal punishment
        • Parental discord
        • Domestic violence/child abuse
    • For children who are bullied, there may be…
        • More intense, positive, and overprotective parenting (for boys)
        • More threats of rejection and lack of assertion (for girls)
        • Inconsistent discipline practices (overprotective and neglectful) without warmth for bully-victims
    • For children who intervene, there may be…
        • More open, trusting relationships with mothers
    Bowers et al. (1994); Finnegan et al. (1998); Ladd & Ladd (1998); Nickerson, Mele, & Princiotta (2008); Olweus, Limber, & Mihalic (1999)
  • Bullying and School Staff
    • Often not involved in bullying problem or resolution
        • Intervene less than 10% of the time
        • Not told about problem (victims fear reprisal)
    • Powerful influence on peer acceptance of others
        • Warmth, positive feedback leads to greater peer acceptance
    Banks (1997); Chang (2003); Cohn & Canter (2002); Hughes, Cavell, & Willson (2001); Limber (2002); Mullin-Rindler (2003); Skiba & Fonanini (2000); White, Sherman, & Jones (1996)
  • What are “Key Ingredients” for Prevention at the School Level?
        • Clear, consistently enforced expectations and policies for behavior, including prohibition of bullying and harassment, and effective classroom management – means of reporting
        • Warmth, positive interest, adult involvement and supervision, and appreciation of differences
    Farrington & Ttofi, (2009); Gregory, Cornell, Fan, Sheras, & Shih (2010); Koth, Bradshaw, & Leaf, (2008); Olweus (1993); Olweus, Limber, & Mihalic (1999)
  • School-Based Anti-Bullying Programs
    • Some evidence to support effectiveness of school bullying interventions in enhancing…
        • Teacher knowledge
        • Efficacy in intervention skills
        • Behavior in responding to incidences of bullying
        • To a lesser extent, reduction of participation of students in bully and victim roles
    (Merrell, Gueldner, Ross, & Isava, 2008 meta-analysis)
  • School-Based Anti-Bullying Programs
    • On average, bullying decreased by 20-30% and victimization 17-20% through the use of school-based interventions
    • Best results for programs that are:
        • Intensive and long-lasting
        • Carefully monitored for fidelity of implementation
        • Assessed regularly (2x monthly)
        • Evidence-based
        • Inclusive of parent training activities
    (Ttofi & Farrington, 2011 meta-analysis)
  • What DOESN’T Work?
    • Brief assemblies or one-day awareness raising events
    • Zero-tolerance policies
        • May result in under-reporting bullying
        • Limited evidence in curbing bullying behavior
    • Peer mediation, peer-led conflict resolution
        • Many programs that used this approach actually saw an increase in victimization
        • Grouping children who bully together may actually reinforce this behavior
    Dodge, Dishion, & Lansford, (2006); Farrington & Ttofi, (2009); Nansel et al., (2001)
  • Responding to a Bullied Child
    • Listen
    • Empathize
        • “ That must have been very scary for you ”
    • Thank child for telling
    • Take it seriously
    • Partner with child and school to problem-solve
    • Follow-up
  • Responding to a Child who Bullies
    • Focus on behavior (not child as person) and why it is not OK
    • Apply logical, meaningful consequences
    • Increase supervision and monitoring
    • Work with child to develop plan for how to prevent this behavior in future
    • Consider professional help to increase empathy, perspective taking, and problem-solving
  • Dignity for All Students Act
    • Prohibits harassment of students with respect to race, weight, religion, sexual preference, etc.
    • Unlawful to not remedy harassment or bullying on school grounds
    • Includes:
        • Policies and guidelines
        • Curriculum changes in civility, citizenship, and character education
        • Training (for staff and point person)
        • Record keeping
    www.p12.nysed.gov/dignityact/ Effective July 1, 2012
  • Mission
    • To research, identify, and disseminate resources to practitioners on the topics of bullying abuse prevention and intervention
    Dr. Jean M. Alberti
  • Current Activities
    • Identification of high quality resources and links for website
    • Needs assessment
        • Resource availability and utilization
        • Current practices and needs (interviews, surveys)
    • Research and evaluation
        • Gender, empathy, group norms, and prosocial affiliations on bullying roles (middle school)
        • Bullying, anxiety, and self-care (middle school)
        • Group intervention for students at-risk for depression (middle and high school)
  • Research Directions
    • Bullying and victimization within the context of school engagement and wellness
    • Parents’ responses to children’s bullying experiences
    • Factors that contribute to peer intervention in bullying situations
    • Evaluation of efforts to prevent and intervene in bullying
  • Questions?
    • Thank you for your attention and interest!