The issue of bullying, especially in schools, has become a hot topic as of recent. With recent deaths and suicides of victims of bullying, many states (including Massachusetts) have proposed and defined anti-bullying laws to address this issue. Many schools have identified anti-bullying policies and procedures to effectively deal with this issue. Prevention and intervention programs include enforcements of the consequences of bullying, counseling for those who bully, support for bullying victims, and the empowerment of bystanders. The objective of this presentation will examine the issue of school bullying and evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions and prevention programs designed to address this issue. Ten pieces of literature regarding different intervention methods were reviewed and will be discussed during this presentation. We will examine each piece of literature for its strengths and weaknesses in the type of intervention method(s) that were researched to intervene and prevent the issue of bullying within our schools.
Merrell, Gueldner, Ross, & Isava (2008) examined 16 research studies that were conducted over a 25 year period from 1980-2004 throughout European nations and the United States in regards to the effectiveness of school bullying interventions. The studies included 15,386 K through 12th grade student participants and utilized standard meta-analysis techniques (Merrell, et al., 2008).A strength of these studies is the compilation of 16 different studies over a 25 year period. The studies also include a wide range of participants within European nations and the United States. Of the 16 studies conducted, only three of them utilized the true-experimental design and not all utilized a control group (Merrell, et al., 2008). This concludes that not all 16 studies utilized the same methods of experimentation, thus questioning the validity of some of the studies (Merrell, et al., 2008). Also, the use of self-reports throughout many of these studies measured the knowledge of bullying behaviors as opposed to how often one engages in bullying behaviors (Merrell, et al., 2008).
Crothers & Levinson (2004) note the fact that bullying has become the most pervasive form of school violence and how school violence has become a widespread problem within our nation and the several different assessment methods that can be utilized to assess bullying in schools and the guidelines for counselors in choosing the appropriate methods for their needs.
Each assessment method is evaluated in how they can be utilized to determine attitudes, beliefs, and practices of bullying behavior. Crothers & Levinson (2004) examined each of these assessment tools discussing each method’s strengths and weaknesses. The information they provide is geared toward schools and counselors for informational purposes on these assessment methods. With this information, schools and counselors can determine which assessment methods meet their needs. Crothers & Levinson (2004) do a great job in assisting schools and counselors to determine the prevalence of bullying in their schools; however, it does not discuss intervention and prevention methods of school bullying.
Allen (2010) did research on a bullying intervention system that was implemented in a high school aimed to interrupt bullying, conflict, and aggression before it escalates. This research outlines a bullying intervention system designed by a core group of teachers, administrators, guidance counselors, and a student in a suburban high school and was designed after an initial assessment of needs within the school and a detailed presentation to school faculty (Allen, 2010).This intervention system is rather new. Implementation of the system is in its second year for staff and the first full year for students and families (Allen, 2010). Because of the newness of this intervention system, evaluations are still occurring on its effectiveness. This bullying intervention system is clearly outlined in regards to reporting, who can report, how to report, what bullying is, how bullying affects the entire school, intervention/follow-up procedures, and the continuum process that needs to be followed (Allen, 2010). This outline is clear and detailed in how to recognize, address, and follow-up with bullying issues within the school system; however, more research is needed to determine this intervention’s effectiveness.
Biggs, Vernberg, Twemlow, Fonagy, & Dill (2008) conducted a study built upon the empirical evidence of the CAPSLE intervention’s overall effectiveness in addresses and preventing bullying in schools. Due to the program including all members of the school community as possible victims, bullies, and/or bystanders, this study discusses teacher’s attitudes and adherence to the CAPSLE intervention and how these attitudes and adherence affect students’ attitudes toward their response (Biggs, et al., 2008). The study included teachers and students in three elementary schools that were currently implementing the CAPSLE intervention program; all three schools were in the second or third year of the three year trial of the program (Biggs, et al., 2008). The evidence reported in this study was able to distinguish how teacher adherence and attitudes of the program affected the students’ attitudes of teacher responses and to bullying in general within years two and three of the three year trial period of the program (Biggs, et al., 2008). It would have been interesting to learn how teachers and students in year one of the three year trial period of the program affected the attitude and implementation of years two and three.
Farmer, Hall, Petrin, Hamm, & Daisman (2010) conducted a study on the Project REAL intervention program. This study utilized a randomized control trial to evaluate the impact of the Rural Early Adolescent Learning Program (Project REAL) on teachers’ awareness of peer groups at the beginning of the first year of middle school (Farmer, et al., 2010). Four schools participated in the study; two schools were assigned to the intervention condition and two schools were assigned to the control condition (Farmer, et al., 2010). Of these four schools, 39 teachers and 466 students participated in the study (Farmer, et al., 2010). Social cognitive mapping methods were utilized to assess and compare teachers’ and students’ perceptions of 6th grade peer groups (Farmer, et al., 2010).One of the strengths of this study is the randomized control style that was used. Two entire schools were placed in the control group and the other two were placed in the group that the teachers were trained and educated on the Project REAL intervention techniques. This was done as to not contaminate the study groups by having some teachers trained in the intervention techniques and others not within the same school because it is believed that the teacher responses affect the entire 6th grade within the schools (Farmer, et al., 2010). Another strength is that the sample sizes of the groups were large enough to determine the differences between the control and intervention groups (Farmer, et al., 2010).A limitation of this study is that its focus was on rural schools; therefore, this limits the generalization of the findings to a broader group (Farmer, et al., 2010). Also, the sample size was small and included four schools within the same district; therefore limiting the demographics of the participants (Farmer, et al., 2010). Another limitation is that this study and Project REAL was designed to determine awareness of social groups; however, it did not assess how understanding of social groups affected students beliefs and attitudes toward bullying (Farmer, et al., 2010). Lastly, this study does not examine the impact of intervention over the sixth grade school year or in subsequent years; it was a short-term study (Farmer, et al., 2010).
Hallford, Bomtrager, & Davis (2006) conducted a study of a bullying prevention program (Bullyproof) within the state of Oklahoma. The study of the “Bullyproof” prevention program evaluated the attitudes and prevalence of bullying within Oklahoma elementary schools pre-implementation of the program to five months after the implementation of the program (Hallford, Bomtrager, & Davis, 2006). One elementary school of 367 students in grades pre-kindergarten through 5th grade, divided among 32 classrooms (Hallford, Bomtrager, & Davis, 2006). The results of the study showed that the frequency of observed bullying behaviors did not change from pre- to post-program; however, the lack of change in bullying behaviors is possibly due to the increase in awareness of these behaviors vs. the lack of behavior change (Hallford, Bomtrager, & Davis, 2006).A strength of this study is that the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors regarding bullying were examined before the implementation of the program and compared with the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors regarding bullying five months after the implementation of the program. This assists to determine how education affects the attitudes and awareness of bullying behaviors. Limitations of the study include the absence of a control group, no immediate post-program evaluation, and the lack of ethnic diversity among the participants (Hallford, Bomtrager, & Davis, 2006).
McLaughlin, Laux, & Pescara-Kovach (2006) conducted a study to examine the affects of multimedia methods on self-reported bullying and victimization among urban third graders using the Reynolds’ Bully Victimization Scale. The study consisted of three groups: control group, intervention group1 and intervention group2 (McLaughlin, Laux, & Pescara-Kovack, 2006). All three groups receive the counselor/teacher intervention method which was based on Olweus’ (2003) cognitive behavioral treatment (McLaughlin, Laux, & Pescara-Kovack, 2006). This intervention was designed to help students be able to define the roles of bully/victim/bystander, describe what these roles meant to them in their own words, and bring up awareness of self-esteem and conflict resolution (McLaughlin, Laux, & Pescara-Kovack, 2006). The second and third groups also received video intervention in addition to counselor/teacher intervention. These two groups watched three age-appropriate videos designed to help students identify and reduce bullying and victimization (McLaughlin, Laux, & Pescara-Kovack, 2006). The third group received CD-ROM intervention in addition to the counselor/teacher and video interventions. This group was presented with a commercially produced CD-ROM that was part relaxation and part quiz show with mini scenarios and was designed specifically for third graders (McLaughlin, Laux, & Pescara-Kovack, 2006). This last intervention was designed teach students relaxation techniques and conflict resolution techniques.This study was based on two different hypotheses: (1) that each of the three groups would experience significant pre- to post-reductions in self-reported bullying and victimization; and (2) that the amount of pre- to post-treatment change in bullying and intervention would be associated with increasing amounts of multimedia methods (McLaughlin, Laux, & Pescara-Kovack, 2006). The study should have only focused on one hypothesis. The study also only examined the attitudes of bullying and victimization and did not address the role of bystander other than defining it (McLaughlin, Laux, & Pescara-Kovack, 2006). The bystander also plays a huge role in the attitudes toward bullying and victimization; therefore, it should have been addressed within the intervention programs offered to the third grade students and teachers.
Novick & Issacs (2010) note the importance of shared responsibility of student bystander and teacher in bully prevention. They conducted a study that evaluated 115 middle school teachers in their role of observations versus student reporting of bullying and in the teachers’/staff preparedness of addressing these behaviors (Novick & Issacs, 2010). The outcome/purpose of the study was to determine how everyone (bully, bystander, and victim) plays a role in bullying prevention (Novick & Issacs, 2010).This study provided information and evidence on how teacher preparedness to address bullying situations made students more comfortable in being an active bystander or victim by reporting the bullying behaviors (Novick & Issacs, 2010). This study also provides information on how to train educators and counselors in the implementation of this program.
Ross (2009) compiled a dissertation describing a bullying intervention/prevention program named Bully Prevention in Positive Behavior Support (BP-PBS). This intervention has shown empirical evidence in its effectiveness through a study utilizing a single-subject, multiple-baseline design involving six students and three elementary schools (Ross, 2009). This study was part of a dissertation project and utilized a very small sample group. The idea of this intervention sounds to be effective and the program is easy to implement among school staff. More research should be done to provide more evidence on the program’s effectiveness.
1734 schools were randomly selected on a volunteer basis and the schools were anonymous to the researchers (Smith, Cousins, & Stewart, 2005). The purpose of the study was to explore the relationship between the aspects of programs being utilized in the schools and perceptions about the outcomes of these programs (Smith, Cousins, & Stewart, 2005). The downside of sending out surveys is that they all do not come back. Out of the 1734 surveys sent out only 395 completed and useable surveys were returned (Smith, Cousins, & Stewart, 2005). More information could have been gained if all surveys were returned completed and useable.
All literature on bullying prevention and intervention acknowledge the fact the bullying is an extremely important and fundamental issue. There are many methods that have been developed and are in the processing of being developed in addressing the issue of bullying prevention and intervention, but all of these methods are rather new and have not had extensive studies/research done on its long-term effectiveness. All literature also provides strong arguments in the importance of prevention and intervention being a community effort to address the bullying behavior, supporting the victim, and empower the bystander. Prevention and intervention will not be effective if only the behavior is addressed and consequenced. The behaviors need to be addressed while the entire community is educated on the unacceptability of these behaviors and taught tools on how to effectively teach new behaviors for all (i.e. the bully, victim, and bystander). Facilitators of these methods/policies also have to have complete by-in to their effectiveness and purpose. Teacher and administrator attitudes will directly affect the attitudes of the students in regards to the acceptance of these behaviors (Biggs, et al., 2008). Without by-in and adherence to programs and methods developed, intervention and prevention will prove to be ineffective.Bullying has become the most pervasive form of school violence and school violence has become a widespread problem within our nation (Crothers & Levinson, 2004). Due to the prevalence of this issue and the drive to lessen school violence, it is extremely important that more research be done in the effectiveness of anti-bullying/anti-hazing methods that schools can utilize, implement, and be educated enough to develop comprehensive policies/procedures within the school systems throughout the nation.
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Bullying<br />A Review of Assessment and Intervention Methods<br />
Effectiveness of School Bullying Intervention Programs<br />Merrell, Gueldner, Ross, & Isava (2008) found that bullying intervention programs are likely to influence knowledge, attitudes, and self-perceptions as opposed to reducing actual bullying behaviors<br />
Review Methods and Instruments to Assess Bullying<br />Unstructured and structured observations<br />Interviews<br />Socio-metric procedures<br />Questionnaires<br />Surveys<br />Teacher ratings of students regarding bullying and bystander behaviors<br />Self-reporting<br />Bullying behavior scale (BBC)<br />
Review Methods and Instruments to Assess Bullying (Continued)<br />Name calling survey (NMC)<br />Life in School booklet<br />Olweus’s Bully/Victim Questionnaire (OBVQ)<br />Peer Beliefs Inventory (PBI)<br />Peer Nomination Inventory (PNI)<br />Peer Relations Questionnaire (PRQ)<br />Peer-Victimization Scale (PVS)<br />Social Experience Questionnaire (SEQ)<br />Self-Rating Questionnaire on Aggressive Behavior (SQAB)<br />
Bullying Intervention That Reduces Risk and Creates Support For Aggressive Students<br />An intervention system designed to provide teachers, administrators, and other school faculty information on how to recognize and address bullying issues in a clear plan of action with consistent responses through an education based approach<br />An intervention system that focuses on addressing behaviors and educating students on other tools to utilize besides aggression<br />This intervention does not focus on punitive consequences for bullying and/or aggressive behaviors<br />
CAPSLE Intervention Program<br />Everyone within the school community plays a role in school bullying and that anyone can play the role of bully, victim, and/or bystander<br />All members within the school community take an active role in preventing bullying by encouraging empathy for the victim and decreasing pre-aggression attitudes and behaviors<br />
Early Adolescent Learning Program (Project REAL)<br />Bullying prevention program designed to enhance teachers’ understanding of social networks, particularly within the middle school context<br />Peer affiliations play a huge role in the school adjustment for middle school aged youth<br />This intervention program identifies the importance of middle school aged youth to develop positive peer relationships in the school year and how this is difficult due to the prevalence of bullying and victimization within the middle schools<br />
Bullyproof<br />Designed in response to the No Child Left Behind Act and to address bullying within the school system<br />Implements conflict resolution skills through the use of puppet play for younger youth and rap n roll opera for older youth <br />Designed for youth in the pre-K through teen years.<br />
Shared Responsibility in Bullying Prevention/Intervention<br />There is a shared responsibility of student bystander and teacher response in bullying prevention<br />Everyone (bully, victim, and bystander) play a role in bullying prevention<br />Teacher and staff preparedness to address bullying situations make students more comfortable in being an active bystander or victim by reporting the bullying behaviors<br />
Bully Prevention in Positive Behavior Support (BP-PBS)<br />Intervention program is designed to remove<br />social rewards that maintain bullying behavior<br />discrimination of “being respectful” versus “not being respectful Based on a school-wide response to bullying behaviors that are effective for bullies, victims, and bystanders<br />Based on a school-wide response to bullying behaviors that are effective for bullies, victims, and bystanders<br />
Evaluation of School Bullying Intervention Programs<br />Smith, Cousins, & Stewart (2005) conducted a study of school bullying intervention programs across Canadian schools due to the prevalence of bullying behaviors within the school system<br />School principals were asked to completedanine page questionnaire to determine the characteristics of the school and the student body, the nature and severity of indirect and direct bullying problems at the school, the adequacy of resources directed at solving bullying problems (i.e. types of interventions utilized), and a self-reporting evaluation of the school’s efforts to evaluate their antibullying programs<br />
Conclusion<br />Bullying is a prevalent issue throughout our nation and the effects of bullying can have a lifetime effect on the victims<br />Bullying has been the cause of suicides and school shootings by victims; therefore it is important to address how we handle this prevalent issue<br />States have begun to develop anti-bullying and anti-hazing laws to address the issue of bullying and deter the behavior and type of school violence from occurring<br />Schools are being required to develop anti-bullying and anti-hazing policies and procedures to combat bullying within the school system, protect victims, and empower bystanders/witnesses of acts of bullying<br />The research question that needs to be asked to further assist the schools and states with this issue is: What is/are the best method(s) for bullying prevention and intervention?<br />
References<br />Allen, K. (2010). A bullying intervention system: Reducing risk and creating support for aggressive students. Preventing School Failure, 54(3), 199-209. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from Research Library. (Document ID: 2106690041).<br />Biggs, B., Vernberg, E., Twemlow, S., Fonagy, P., & Dill, E.. (2008). Teacher adherence and its relation to teacher attitudes and student outcomes in an elementary school-based violence prevention program. School Psychology Review, 37(4), 533-549. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from ProQuest Psychology Journals. (Document ID: 1638374791).<br />Corthers, L., M. & Levinson, E., M. (2004). Assessment of bullying: A review of methods and instruments. Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD, 82(4), 496-503. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from ProQuest Psychology Journals. (Document ID: 757437711).<br />
References (Continued)<br />Farmer, T., Hall, C., Petrin, R., Hamm, J., & Dadisman, K.. (2010). Evaluating the impact of a multicomponent intervention model on teachers' awareness of social networks at the beginning of middle school in rural communities. School Psychology Quarterly, 25(2), 94. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from ProQuest Psychology Journals. (Document ID: 2107966421).<br />Hallford, A., Borntrager, C., & Davis, J. L. (2006). Evaluation of a bullying prevention program. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 21(1), 91-101. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from ProQuest Psychology Journals. (Document ID: 1148183341).<br />McLaughlin, L., Laux, J., M., & Pescara-Kovach, L. (2006). Using multimedia to reduce bullying and victimization in third-grade urban schools. Professional School Counseling, 10(2), 153-160. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from Career and Technical Education. (Document ID: 1186932481).<br />
References (Continued)<br />Merrell, K., Gueldner, B., Ross, S., & Isava, D.. (2008). How effective are school bullying intervention programs? A meta-analysis of intervention research. School Psychology Quarterly, 23(1), 26. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from ProQuest Psychology Journals. (Document ID: 1470099551).<br />Novick, R., & Isaacs, J.. (2010). Telling is compelling: the impact of student reports of bullying on teacher intervention. Educational Psychology, 30(3), 283. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from Research Library. (Document ID: 2030248261).<br />Ross, S., & Horner, R.. (2009). Bully prevention in positive behavior support. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 42(4), 747-59. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 1929037621).<br />Smith, J., D., Cousins, J. B., & Stewart, R. (2005). Antibullying interventions in schools: Ingredients of effective programs. Canadian Journal of Education, 28(4), 739-762. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from ProQuest Psychology Journals. (Document ID: 1033180551).<br />