Advertisement

Prevention Science

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 285–296 | Cite as

Effects of a Skills-based Prevention Program on Bullying and Bully Victimization among Elementary School Children

  • Jeffrey M. Jenson
  • William A. Dieterich
Article

Abstract

We report results from a group-randomized trial of a prevention program aimed at preventing bullying and other aggressive behaviors. Fourth grade classrooms at 28 public elementary schools were assigned to receive selected modules of the Youth Matters prevention curriculum or to a no-treatment control condition. Cross-classified multilevel models were fitted to four waves of data collected over 2 years to test the effect of the intervention on self-reported bullying and bully victimization. No systematic change in bullying other students was observed. In a continuous outcome growth model, bully victim scale scores declined over the course of the study and the rate of decline in victimization was significantly higher in experimental schools relative to control schools. But the results from binary outcome growth models indicate no significant treatment effects on bully status or bully victim status over time. Implications of findings for the implementation of anti-bullying strategies in urban public school settings are discussed.

Keywords

Bullying Prevention Children Cross-classified Growth modeling 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This project was supported by the Comprehensive Health Education Foundation, Seattle, Washington. The authors wish to thank Kathleen Burgoyne, Ph.D. for her assistance. Thanks also to Bob Anderson, Ph.D. of Denver Public Schools for making this study possible.

References

  1. Anthony, E. J. (1987). Risk, vulnerability, and resistance. In E. J. Anthony & B. J. Choler (Eds.) The invulnerable child (pp. 3–48). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  2. Aos, S., Lieb, R., Mayfield, J., Miller, M., & Pennucci, A. (2004). Benefits and costs of prevention and early intervention programs for youth. Olympia, WA: Washington State Institute for Public Policy.Google Scholar
  3. Austin, S., & Joseph, S. (1996). Assessment of bully/victims problems in 8 to 11 year-olds. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 157, 447–456.Google Scholar
  4. Backer, T. E. (2001). Finding the balance: Program fidelity and adaptation in substance abuse prevention: A state-of-the-art review. Rockville, MD: Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration..Google Scholar
  5. Baldry, A. C., & Farrington, D. P. (2000). Bullies and delinquents: Personal characteristics and parental styles. Journal of Community Applied Sociology, 10, 17–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bandura, A. (1989). Human agency in social cognitive theory. American Psychologist, 14, 1175–1184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bates, D., & Sarkar, D. (2006). lme4: Linear mixed-effects models using S4 classes. R package version 09975-9.Google Scholar
  8. Bauer, N. S., Lozano, P., & Rivara, F. P. (2007). The effectiveness of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program in public middle schools: A controlled trial. Journal of Adolescent Health, 40, 266–274.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Biglan, A., Brennan, P. A., Foster, S. L., & Holder, H. D. (2004). Helping adolescents at risk. Prevention of multiple problem behaviors. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  10. Bond, L., Carlin, J. B., Thomas, L., Rubin, K., & Patton, G. (2001). Does bullying cause emotional problems? A prospective study of young teenagers. British Medical Journal, 323, 480–484.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Castro, F. G., Barrera, M., & Martinez, C. R. (2004). The cultural adaptation of prevention interventions: Resolving tensions between fidelity and fit. Prevention Science, 5, 41–45.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Catalano, R. F., & Hawkins, J. D. (1996). The social development model: A theory of antisocial behavior. In J. D. Hawkins (Ed.) Delinquency and crime: Current theories (pp. 149–197). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Cowie, H., & Wallace, P. (2000). Peer support into action. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  14. Cunningham, C. E., Cunningham, L. J., Martorelli, V., Tran, A., Young, J., & Zacharias, R. (1998). The effects of primary division, student-mediated conflict resolution programs on playground aggression. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 39, 653–662.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Eisenberg, M. E., & Aalsma, M. C. (2005). Bullying and peer victimization: Position paper of the Society for Adolescent Medicine. Journal of Adolescent Health, 36, 88–91.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Eisenberg, M. E., Neumark-Sztainer, D., & Perry, C. (2003). Peer harassment, school connectedness and school success. Journal of School Health, 73, 311–316.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Espelage, D. L., Bosworth, K., & Simon, T. R. (2001). Short-term stability and change of bullying in middle school students: An examination of demographic, psychosocial, and environmental correlates. Violence and Victims, 16, 411–426.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Fekkes, M., Pijpers, F. I. M., & Vereloove-Vanhorick, S. P. (2005). Bullying: Who does what, when and where? Involvement of children, teachers and parents in bullying behavior. Health Education Research, 20, 81–91.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Forero, R., McLellan, L., Rissel, C., & Bauman, A. (1999). Bullying behavior and psychosocial health among school students in New South Wales Australia. British Medical Journal, 319, 344–348.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Frey, K. S., Hirschstein, M. K., Snell, J. L., Van Schoiack Edstrom, L., MacKenzie, E. P., & Broderick, C. J. (2005). Reducing playground bullying and supporting beliefs: An experimental trial of the Steps to Respect program. Developmental Psychology, 41, 479–491.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Garmezy, N. (1985). Stress-resistant children: The search for protective factors. In J. E. Stevenson (Ed.) Recent research in developmental psychopathology (pp. 213–233) [Book supplement]. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 4.Google Scholar
  22. Gottfredson, D. C., & Wilson, D. B. (2003). Characteristics of effective school-based substance abuse prevention. Prevention Science, 4, 27–38.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Graham, S., & Juvonen, J. (2002). Ethnicity, peer harassment, and adjustment in middle school: An exploratory study. Journal of Early Adolescence, 22, 173–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hanish, L. D., & Guerra, N. G. (2000). The roles of ethnicity and school context in predicting children’s victimization by peers. American Journal of Community Psychology, 22, 201–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hansen, W. B., Graham, J. W., Sobel, J. L., Shelton, D. R., Flay, B. R., & Johnson, C. A. (1987). The consistency of peer and parent influences on tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use among young adolescents. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 10, 559–579.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hansen, W. B., Malotte, C. K., & Fileding, J. E. (1988). Evaluation of a tobacco and alcohol abuse prevention curriculum for adolescents. Special Issue: The role of the schools in implementing the nation’s health objectives for the 1990’s. Health Education Quarterly, 15, 93–114.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Hawker, D. S. J., & Boulton, M. J. (2000). Twenty years’ research on peer victimization and psychosocial maladjustment: A meta-analytic review of cross-sectional studies. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 41, 441–455.Google Scholar
  28. Hawkins, J. D. (2004). Using prevention science to guide prevention action in communities. Developing partnerships: Science, policy, and programs across cultures. Proceedings of the Second World Conference on the Promotion of Mental Health and the Prevention of Mental and Behavioral Disorders, pp. 19–34. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services.Google Scholar
  29. Hawkins, J. D. (2006). Science, social work, prevention: Finding the intersections. Social Work Research, 30, 137–152.Google Scholar
  30. Hirschi, T. (1969). Causes of delinquency. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  31. Jenson, J. M. (2006). Advances and challenges in preventing childhood and adolescent problem behavior. Social Work Research, 30, 131–134.Google Scholar
  32. Jenson, J. M., & Fraser, M. W. (2006). Social policy for children and families: A risk and resilience perspective. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  33. Juvonen, J., Graham, S., & Schuster, M. A. (2003). Bullying among young adolescents: The strong, the weak, and the troubled. Pediatrics, 112, 1231–1237.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Juvonen, J., Nishina, A., & Graham, S. (2000). Peer harassment, psychological adjustment, and school functioning in early adolescence. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92, 349–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Laird, N. M. (1988). Missing data in longitudinal studies. Statistics in Medicine, 7, 305–315.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Leonard, C. P., & Elias, M. J. (1993). Entry into middle school: Student factors predicting adaptation to an ecological transition. In L. A. Jason, K. E. Danner, & K. S. Kurasaki (Eds.) The prevention in human services series: Prevention and school transitions, 10(2) (pp. 39–57). New York: The Haworth Press.Google Scholar
  37. Limber, S. P. (2004). Implementation of the Olweus bullying prevention program in American schools: Lessons learned from the field. In D. L. Espelage & S. M. Swearer (Eds.) Bullying in American schools: A social-ecological perspective on prevention and intervention (pp. 351–364). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  38. Limber, S. P., Nation, M., Tracy, A. J., Melton, G. B., & Flerx, V. (2004). Implementation of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program in the southeastern United States. In P. K. Smith, D. Pepler, & K. Rigby (Eds.) Bullying in schools. How successful can interventions be? (pp. 55–81). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Little, R. J. A., & Rubin, D. B. (2002). Statistical analysis with missing data. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  40. Marsh, H. W., & Hau, Kit-Tai. (2002). Multilevel modeling of longitudinal growth and change: Substantive effects or regression toward the mean artifacts. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 37, 245–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Matsueda, R. L. (1982). Testing control theory and differential association: A causal modeling approach. American Sociological Review, 47, 489–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Mehta, P. D., & West, S. G. (2000). Putting the individual back into individual growth curves. Psychological Methods, 5, 23–43.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nansel, T. R., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R. S., Ruan, W. J., Simons-Morton, B. G., & Scheidt, P. (2001). Bullying behaviors among US youth: Prevalence and association with psychosocial adjustment. Journal of the American Association, 285, 2094–2100.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Olweus, D. (1991). Bully/victim problems among schoolchildren: Basic facts and effects of a school-based intervention program. In D. Pepler & K. Rubin (Eds.) The development and treatment of childhood aggression (pp. 411–448). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  45. Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying at school. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  46. Olweus, D. (1994). Bullying at school: Long-term outcomes for the victims and an effective school-based intervention program. In L. R. Huesmann (Ed.) Aggressive behavior: Current perspectives (pp. 97–130). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  47. Olweus, D. (1996). The Revised Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire. Mimeo.Bergen Norway: Research Center for Health Promotion (HEMIL Center), University of Bergen.Google Scholar
  48. Olweus, D. (2004). The Olweus bullying prevention programme: Design and implementation issues and a new national initiative in Norway. In P. K. Smith, D. Pepler, & K. Rigby (Eds.) Bullying in schools. How successful can interventions be? (pp. 13–36). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Pellegrini, A. D., Bartini, M., & Brooks, F. (2001). School bullies, victims, and aggressive victims: Factors relating to group affiliation and victimization in early adolescence. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 216–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. R Development Core Team. (2006). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna, Austria: R Foundation for Statistical Computing..Google Scholar
  51. Rasbash, J., & Browne, W. J. (2001). Modelling non-hierarchical structures. In A. H. Leyland & H. Goldstein (Eds.) Multilevel modelling in health statistics (pp. 93–105). New York: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  52. Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  53. Rigby, K. (1996). Bullying in schools and what to do about it. Melbourne: ACER.Google Scholar
  54. Rigby, K., Smith, P. K., & Pepler, D. (2004). Working to prevent school bullying: Key issues. In P. K. Smith, D. Pepler, & K. Rigby (Eds.) Bullying in schools: How successful can interventions be? (pp. 1–12). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Roland, E. (2002). Bullying, depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts. Educational Research, 44, 55–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Roland, E., & Galloway, D. (2002). Classroom influences on bullying. Educational Research, 44, 299–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Rutter, M. (1985). Resilience in the face of adversity: Protective factors and resistance to psychiatric disorder. British Journal of Psychiatry, 147, 598–611.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Scheier, L. M., & Botvin, G. J. (1998). Relations of social skills, personal competence, and adolescent drug use: A developmental exploratory study. Journal of Early Adolescence, 18, 77–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Schwartz, D. (2000). Subtypes of victims and aggressors in children’s peer groups. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 28, 181–192.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Schwartz, D., Dodge, K. A., & Coie, J. D. (1993). The emergence of chronic peer victimization in boys’ play groups. Child Development, 64, 1755–1772.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Simpson, G. A., & Fowler, M. G. (1994). Geographic mobility and children’s emotional/behavioral adjustment and school functioning. Pediatrics, 93, 303–309.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. Singer, J. D., & Willett, J. B. (2003). Applied data analysis: Modeling change and event occurrence. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  63. Smith, P. K., Ananiadou, K., & Cowie, H. (2003). Interventions to reduce school bullying. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 48, 591–599.Google Scholar
  64. Smith, P. K., & Brain, P. (2000). Bullying in schools: Lessons from two decades of research. Aggressive Behavior, 26, 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Smith, P. K., Madsen, K. C., & Moody, J. C. (1999). What causes the age decline in reports of being bullied at school? Towards a developmental analysis of risks of being bullied. Educational Research, 41, 267–285.Google Scholar
  66. Smith, P. K., Morita, Y., Junger-Tas, J., Olweus, D., Catalano, R., & Slee, P. (Eds.). (1999). The nature of school bullying: A cross-national perspective. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  67. Smith, P. K., Pepler, D., & Rigby, K. (Eds.). (2004). Bullying in schools. How successful can interventions be? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  68. Snijders, T. A. B., & Bosker, R. J. (1999). Multilevel analysis: An introduction to basic and advanced multilevel modeling. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  69. Solberg, M. E., & Olweus, D. (2003). Prevalence estimation of school bullying with the Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire. Aggressive Behavior, 29, 239–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Sourander, A., Helstela, L., Helenius, H., & Piha, J. (2000). Persistence of bullying from childhood to adolescence – A longitudinal 8-year follow-up study. Child Abuse and Neglect, 24, 873–881.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Spivak, H., & Prothrow-Stith, D. (2001). The need to address bullying – An important component of violence prevention. Journal of the American Medical Association, 285, 2131–2132.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Sutherland, E. H. (1973). Development of the theory [Private paper published posthumously]. In K. Schuessler (Ed.) Edwin Sutherland on analyzing crime. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  73. Vossekuil, B., Fein, R. A., Reddy, M., Borum, R., & Modzeleski, W. (2002). The final report and findings of the Safe School Initiative. Implications for the prevention of school attacks in the United States. Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Education.Google Scholar
  74. Werner, E. E. (1989). High-risk children in young adulthood: A longitudinal study from birth to 32 years. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 59, 72–81.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Werner, E, & Smith, R. S. (1982). Vulnerable but invincible: A longitudinal study of resilient children and youth. New York: Adams, Bannister, and Cox.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of Prevention Research 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Social WorkUniversity of DenverDenverUSA

Personalised recommendations