Bullying as a public health issue                                        Amanda Nickerson, PhD                            ...
Overview   Introduction to Alberti Center   Facts and figures about bullying   Prevention and intervention: The best of...
Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention     Mission: To further our  understanding and to reduce  bullying abuse in s...
Facts and Figures
BullyingIntentional, usually repeated actsof verbal, physical, or writtenaggression by a peer (or group ofpeers) operating...
Types of Bullying   Physical bullying       punching, shoving, acts that hurt people   Verbal bullying       name call...
Prevalence   Estimates vary WIDELY, but according to student    self-report...     20-25% have bullied at least once    ...
Gender Differences     Boys        More  direct, physical bullying        Bully more frequently than girls        Bull...
Common Characteristics of               Students who Bully   Desire for power and control   Get satisfaction from others...
Students who Bully: Complex Picture   Often popular, high    social status   Report average self-    esteem and believe ...
Characteristics of Children                  who are Bullied   Have a position of relative weakness       Age, ethnic ba...
Consequences for Youth who Bully   More likely to experience legal or criminal troubles    as adults (even after controll...
Consequences for Targets of Bullying   Emotional distress   Loneliness, peer rejection   Desire to avoid school   Incr...
Social Context of Bullying    Culture &          School                                       Family   Bully, Target, and ...
Peer and School Influences    Peers see 85% of bullying (most join in, some ignore,     small number intervene)    Teach...
Possible Family and Community               Contributors to Bullying   Children who bully       Less warmth, involvement...
Prevention and Intervention:The Best of our Knowledge
What can Schools do at the Universal Level?   Have a clear and sensible definition of bullying   Collect data about its ...
Anti-Bullying Policies   Definitions   Statement about expected behaviors and    prohibitions   Reporting procedure   ...
Anti-Bullying Programs   On average, bullying decreased by 20-30%    and victimization 17-20% through the use of    schoo...
Anti-Bullying Programs   Some evidence to support effectiveness of    school bullying interventions in enhancing…     Te...
What DOESN’T Work?   Brief assemblies or one-day awareness raising events   Zero-tolerance policies     May result in u...
Immediate Response to Bullying   Stop the bullying       Name the bullying behavior and refer to school rules against it...
Ongoing Work with Students who Bully   Teach problem-solving to    manage emotions   Cognitive restructuring for    prob...
Immediate Intervention for               Student who is Bullying   Remove from situation   Expect denial   Focus on the...
Immediate Intervention for           Student who is Bullied   Listen and empathize – allow to tell story   Ask how you c...
Ongoing Work with Students      who are Bullied     Identify qualities that may make them      vulnerable and intervene a...
Q &A      Thank you for your       attention and interest       in this important topic!      Find out more at       gse...
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University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions Presentation

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"Bullying as a Public Health Issue"

A presentation by Amanda Nickerson, Ph.D., Director of the Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention

March 5, 2012

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  • Education is very good in the school, bullying is apparently a rampant problem and bullying is really a growing concern both for parents and schools. The best thing you can do parents to your child is that be supportive and listen to your child if they confide in you about bullying.As a way of helping everyone especially the parents, who still find it quite hard to manage issues like this, 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. #SafekidZone, Check it here: http://bit.ly/ZjYchC
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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
  • University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions Presentation

    1. 1. Bullying as a public health issue Amanda Nickerson, PhD Associate Professor and Director Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention University at Buffalo nickersa@buffalo.edu gse.buffalo.edu/alberticenter School of Public Health March 5, 2012
    2. 2. Overview Introduction to Alberti Center Facts and figures about bullying Prevention and intervention: The best of our knowledge
    3. 3. Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention Mission: To further our understanding and to reduce bullying abuse in schools by providing research-based tools to actively change the language, attitudes, and behaviors of educators, parents, students, and wider society.* Highly consistent with a public health framework Dr. Jean M. Alberti Benefactor
    4. 4. Facts and Figures
    5. 5. BullyingIntentional, usually repeated actsof verbal, physical, or writtenaggression by a peer (or group ofpeers) operating from a positionof strength or power with thegoal of hurting the victimphysically or damaging statusand/or social reputationCan happen pre-K through adulthood;peaks grades 4-7 Olweus (1978); United States Department of Education (1998)
    6. 6. Types of Bullying Physical bullying  punching, shoving, acts that hurt people Verbal bullying  name calling, making offensive remarks Indirect bullying  spreading rumors, excluding, ganging up Cyber bullying  willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices Hinduja & Patchin (2009)
    7. 7. 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)
    8. 8. 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 malesBanks (2000); Cook, Williams, Guerra, Kim, & Sadek, (2010); Crick & Grotpeter, (1995); Hinduja &Patchin, (2009); Hoover & Oliver, (1996); Nansel et al., (2001); Olweus, (2002); Underwood, (2003)
    9. 9. 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)
    10. 10. Students who Bully: Complex Picture Often popular, high social status Report average self- esteem and believe they are superior  Most do NOT lack self- esteem However, also report being less engaged in school, less supported by others, more depressed
    11. 11. 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)
    12. 12. 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 lifeAndershed, Kerr, & Stattin (2001); Farrington (2009); Farrington, & Ttofi (2009, 2011); Oliver, Hoover, & Hazler (1994); Olweus (1993); Ttofi & Farrington (2008)
    13. 13. 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 (three- quarters of the 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)
    14. 14. Social Context of Bullying Culture & School Family Bully, Target, and Community (Staff/Peers) BystanderAdapted from Swearer& Espelage (2004)
    15. 15. Peer and School Influences Peers see 85% of bullying (most join in, some ignore, small number intervene) Teachers and school staff are often unaware of or do not intervene in bullying Bullying is more likely to thrive in unsupportive or unhealthy school climates where there is a lack of sense of belonging and where bullying is ignored or dismissed Charach et al. (1995); Hawkins, Pepler, & Craig; Doll, Song, Champion, & Jones, (2011); Holt, Keyes, & Koenig, (2011); Kasen, Johnson, Chen, Crawford, & Cohen, (2011)
    16. 16. Possible Family and Community Contributors to Bullying Children who bully  Less warmth, involvement, supervision  Lack of clear, consistent rules  Harsh/corporal punishment  Parental discord, violence, and/or child abuse  Exposure to violent TV/video games Children who are bullied  More intense, positive, and overprotective parenting (boys)  More threats of rejection and lack of assertion (girls) Children who intervene  More open, trusting relationships with mothers  Supportive context in which to report and intervene Bowers et al. (1994); Cook et al, (2010); Finnegan et al. (1998); Ladd & Ladd (1998); Nickerson, Mele, & Princiotta (2008); Olweus, Limber, & Mihalic (1999)
    17. 17. Prevention and Intervention:The Best of our Knowledge
    18. 18. What can Schools do at the Universal Level? Have a clear and sensible definition of bullying Collect data about its occurrence in your school Ensure that behavioral and social-emotional skills are developed to prevent bullying Develop and implement anti-bullying policy Actively involve students in efforts Provide training to staff and parents about bullying and effective responsesFarrington & Ttofi, (2009); Gregory, Cornell, Fan, Sheras, & Shih (2010); Koth, Bradshaw, & Leaf, (2008); Olweus (1993); Olweus, Limber, & Mihalic (1999); Rigby (n.d.)
    19. 19. Anti-Bullying Policies Definitions Statement about expected behaviors and prohibitions Reporting procedure Investigation and disciplinary actions  Continuum of consequences and interventions Training and prevention procedures Assistance for target
    20. 20. 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)
    21. 21. 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)
    22. 22. 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)
    23. 23. Immediate Response to Bullying Stop the bullying  Name the bullying behavior and refer to school rules against it Engage other students (bystanders) in why this is not OK Apply consequences to student bullying  Be aware of possible humiliation or retaliation against target so use caution in what is done in front of others
    24. 24. Ongoing Work with Students who Bully Teach problem-solving to manage emotions Cognitive restructuring for problematic attributions (e.g., “He deserved it;” “Now they know who is in charge”) Assess for other problems (e.g., drugs, suicidality) Increase empathy and perspective taking
    25. 25. Immediate Intervention for Student who is Bullying Remove from situation Expect denial Focus on the behavior (not on person) Inform student about consequences  Logical, meaningful, teachable (plan for preventing problem in future, paying for damages, loss of privilege) Communicate with parents  Focus on behavior and impact for child and others  Use problem-solving orientation
    26. 26. Immediate Intervention for Student who is Bullied Listen and empathize – allow to tell story Ask how you can work together to support and stop Assure that action will be taken
    27. 27. Ongoing Work with Students who are Bullied  Identify qualities that may make them vulnerable and intervene accordingly  Enhance social support (peers and adults)  Encourage involvement in an activity in which he or she can experience success  “Check in” regularly about bullying  Monitor for signs of depression, suicide, or violence and refer to mental health professional  1-800-273-TALK (Suicide Lifeline)  1-866-4-U-Trevor (Hotline for LGTQ youth)  1-800-KIDS-400 (Buffalo Crisis Hotline)
    28. 28. Q &A  Thank you for your attention and interest in this important topic!  Find out more at gse.buffalo.edu/alberticenter
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