Academic journal article Journal of Research in Childhood Education

Evaluation of a Bullying Prevention Program

Academic journal article Journal of Research in Childhood Education

Evaluation of a Bullying Prevention Program

Article excerpt

Abstract. In order to address the federal "No Child Left Behind" Act, the state of Oklahoma required that all public schools address the problem of bullying. Although numerous anti-bullying programs exist, few have been evaluated to determine their effectiveness. The present study evaluated the effectiveness of one such program, "Bullyproof," in a sample of elementary students in a southwestern U.S. urban school district. The evaluation included tracking the frequency of observed bullying and attitudes toward bullying from pre-program to 5 months post-program. The study also included an assessment of participants, satisfaction with the program. At 5 months post-program, results indicated little change in frequency of observed bullying behaviors, although attitudes changed significantly toward an increased anti-bullying perspective and greater perceived power to intervene in bullying. Overall, participants rated the evaluation positively. Implications for future research efforts and programmatic efforts are discussed.

**********

Bullying, or peer-victimization, is a facet of school violence that is often overlooked. Researchers, teachers, administrators, and policymakers, as well as the lay public, lent increased attention and resources to this problem following numerous school shootings in the past decade and their alleged connection to bullying. As a result of this attention, numerous prevention programs were developed to reduce the prevalence of bullying and to modify attitudes that allow this behavior to continue. Despite the proliferation of prevention programs, the effectiveness of such programs is essentially unknown, as evaluations are rarely conducted.

Bullying is often subsumed under the general aggression literature, in which specific features have been examined. Research suggests that bullying appears to occur by either reactive (angry, reaction to frustration) or proactive (instrumental and reinforced by achieving external rewards) aggression (Salmivalli & Nieminen, 2002). Bullying may occur in a number of modalities and across socioeconomic and ethnic boundaries (Dupper & Meyer-Adams, 2002). Regardless of the underlying motivation for aggressiveness, bullying can consist of various direct behaviors, such as teasing, taunting, threatening, hitting, stealing, and other physical behaviors (e.g., kicking, punching), as well as indirect or relational behaviors, such as causing a student to be socially isolated or spreading rumors (Smith & Sharp, 1994). Research demonstrates that while girls typically employ relational bullying, boys tend to engage in physical bullying (see Hoover, Oliver, & Hazler, 1992). Although bullying is defined in numerous ways, one common characteristic across definitions is the presence of a power differential, which was first described by Olweus (1990). That is, bullying occurs when there is an "imbalance in strength" and the student being harassed has difficulty defending him/herself against the harasser(s) (Olweus, 1997, p. 496). For the purposes of this paper, bullying will be considered the experience of physical or mental abuse, in which a power differential exists between students.

Prevalence rates of bullying victimization in Europe and Australia are roughly similar across studies, generally ranging from 7-22 percent. In a large-scale, longitudinal Norwegian study (N = 130,000) that began in the 1970s, approximately 15 percent of students, ages 7 to 16, reported being involved in bullying, either as bullies (7 percent) or victims (9 percent) (Olweus, 1991). Findings are similar in other European studies, in which prevalence rates for victims of bullying have ranged from 16 to 22 percent (Austin & Joseph, 1996; Pintabona, 2002). Reported prevalence rates from the United States are variable across studies, depending upon methodology and definition of bullying used. For example, Batsche and Knoff (1994) reported that 15-20 percent of all U. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.