Friendly Schools Universal Bullying Prevention Intervention: Effectiveness with Secondary School Students

Abstract

Peer bullying in schools is a significant public health problem that contributes to poor health and wellbeing outcomes for those who bully or are bullied. Meta-analyses of the efficacy of secondary school bullying prevention interventions have typically found no effects or an increase in student bullying. Consequently, few secondary school studies have examined the “real-world” effectiveness of these interventions. This age-cohort study design evaluated the effectiveness of the Friendly Schools (FS) secondary school intervention, previously found to be efficacious. FS was implemented in schools under real-world conditions by an education publisher. Student survey data were collected in 12 schools. The primary outcomes were bullying victimisation and perpetration. Results showed a significant decrease in reported bullying perpetration in subsequent cohorts of both grade 8 and 9 students, and a significant reduction in bullying victimisation and cybervictimisation for grade 8 students, when the FS student curriculum was taught compared to the usual curriculum. This study demonstrates the importance of considering the effectiveness of secondary school bullying prevention interventions and real-world implementation supports for schools.

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Acknowledgements

This study was conducted as part of the Beyond Bullying: Positive Change for All study, which was funded in whole by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC Project 1046086). Donna Cross’ contribution to this paper was supported by an NHMRC Research Fellowship GNT 1119339.

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Correspondence to Donna Cross.

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Approval for this research was obtained from the relevant university Human Research Ethics Committee and educational sectors, and the research was conducted in strict accordance with the Australian National Health & Medical Research Council’s National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research.

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Cross, D., Runions, K.C., Shaw, T. et al. Friendly Schools Universal Bullying Prevention Intervention: Effectiveness with Secondary School Students. Int Journal of Bullying Prevention 1, 45–57 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42380-018-0004-z

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Keywords

  • School bullying
  • Secondary school intervention effectiveness
  • Bullying prevention programmes
  • Anti-bullying
  • Implementation