Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Systematic Review of School-Based Interventions to Prevent Bullying

Vreeman, R.C. Carroll, A.E. (2007). A Systematic Review of School-Based Interventions to Prevent Bullying, 161(1),78-88.

This article begins to explore and review solutions and programs based on the need to reduce bullying
in primary and secondary schools. The study was created to conduct a systematic review of rigorously evaluated school-based interventions to decrease bullying. The authors outline and define the study in which they looked at 2090 article citations and reviewed relative articles from the citations. The authors evaluated 56 articles and found 26 studies that met the inclusion criteria. The interventions had to meet a series of criteria to be consider part of the study. Studies chosen examined a school-based intervention to prevent or reduce bullying. Articles were immediately excluded if they obviously did not include an intervention or did not occur at a school. Data such as academic achievement, perception of school safety, self-esteem, or knowledge about or attitudes toward bullying was also collected throughout the study. The authors gathered articles from databases such as MEDLINE, PsycINFO, EMBASE, Educational Resources Information Center, Cochrane Collaboration, the Physical Education Index, and Sociology: A SAGE Full-Text Collection. They searched for articles using a broad keyword search of the words Bullying and Bully. The articles were grouped into different types of studies or interventions so they could be compared equally in their effectiveness. The types of interventions could be categorized as curriculum (10 studies), multidisciplinary or "whole-school" interventions (10 studies), social skills groups (4 studies), mentoring (1 study), and social worker support (1 study). The stated results of each intervention type concluded that only 4 of the 10 curriculum studies showed decreased bullying. 10 studies evaluating the "whole-school" approach, revealed that 7 of them decreased bullying. Three of the "social skills" training studies showed no clear bullying reduction. The "mentoring" study found decreased bullying for mentored children. The study of "increased school social workers" found decreased bullying, truancy, theft, and drug use. The article concludes that any school based interventions directly reduce bullying however, they discovered better results from interventions that crossed multiple disciplines. Direct curricular changes do not often affect bullying behaviors. Other outcomes indirectly related to bullying are not consistently improved by the interventions that were considered as part of the study.

This article was well written, clear and concise. The information is presented in a well thought out format that allows the reader to easily follow. I was hoping to get more out of this article. It clearly points out a focuses on anti-bullying studies that have been tried in different school settings. It analyzed each study that had to meet a list of requirements in order to be chosen. I would have like to heard more about the details of each study. Although the content is a bit thin, the studies that are included are excellent resources for strategies to deal with bullying. A wide variety of studies and interventions are included. As a result this article could be very useful for teachers, principals and administrators to reference in looking for information on different anti-bullying strategies and bullying prevention.

"Ten studies evaluated the implementation of new curriculum. The curriculum interventions included videotapes, lectures, and written curriculum, and varied in intensity from a single videotape followed by classroom discussion to 15 weeks of classroom modules. The details of the study designs, participants, intervention type, and important outcomes of the curriculum interventions are all described in table 1. The studies all used a pretest, posttest, control group design; 6 of the 10 studies randomized the assignment of the groups.

"Ten studies evaluated interventions using a multidisciplinary whole-school approach that included some combination of schoolwide rules and sanctions, teacher training, classroomcurriculum, conflict resolution training, and individual counseling. The whole-school studies involved more subjectsthan the curriculum interventions, with up to 42 schools in a single study. Only 2 of the studies evaluated interventions among secondary school students, and the rest looked at primary schools. In contrast to the curriculum studies, only 2 of the whole-school studies incorporated randomization in their study design. Two of the studies used a quasi-experimental design with time-lagged age cohorts."

"Four studies looked at targeted interventions involving social and behavioral skills groups for children involved in bullying. Two of these interventions specifically targeted children with high levels of aggression, while the other 2 targeted children who were themselves victims. Of the 4 studies, 3 focused on older students, in sixth through eighth grades, while the fourth looked at third-grade students. The most positive outcomes occurred for the youngest students. DeRosier tested the efficacy of social skills group training for third-grade students with peer relationship difficulties in 11 public primary schools in North Carolina. The intervention resulted in decreased aggression on peer reports, decreased bullying on self-reports, and fewer antisocial affiliations on self-reports for the previously aggressive children. This was the only social skills training intervention that showed clear reductions in bullying from the intervention."

" A single study, done by Bagley and Pritchard, examined the effects of an increase in the number of school social workers focused on problem behaviors, including bullying. Compared with matched control schools, they found a significant decrease in self-reported bullying within the primary school, but worsening bullying in the secondary school. For self-reports of theft, truancy, fighting, and drug use, the primary and secondary intervention schools had significant improvements. A study by King investigated the effects of a mentoring program for "at-risk" children. The mentored students were significantly less likely than their nonmentored age-matched peers to report bullying, physically fighting, and feeling depressed in the past 30 days."

"The curriculum interventions were generally designed to promote an antibullying attitude within the classroom and to help children develop prosocial conflict resolution skills. Most of these interventions drew on the social cognitive principles of behavioral change, with focus on changing students' attitudes, altering group norms, and increasing self-efficacy"

"Despite the evidence pointing toward the value of whole-school approaches, significant barriers may still limit their effectiveness. The implementation of the intervention can vary significantly, and this clearly alters the results. The original antibullying whole-school approach studied in Bergen by Olweus and the evaluation of the same program in Rogaland by Roland produced the most strikingly disparate results. The contrast may have been the result of decreased school staff participation at the Rogaland schools."

Comments: As a teacher that is helping to create an Anti-Bullying campaign with our school. This article was extremely beneficial to help find strategies that have worked and failed. The next step is to share this article with other teachers and administrators, find strategies that we believe will fit our needs well and work with each other to design a program specifically for our unique student population.

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