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TITLE OF DOCUMENT:

Bullying: its consequences and prevention approaches at school.

NAME OF AUTHOR(S):

Mencacci C.

NAME OF PUBLISHER:

Annali della Pubblica Istruzione

LANGUAGE OF DOCUMENT:

Italian

LANGUAGE OF THE REVIEW:

English

KEYWORDS:

Prevention – intervention - suicide – anxiety and depression, personality disorders

DOCUMENT TYPOLOGY:

Report

TARGET GROUP OF PUBLICATION:

Parents, Teachers, School Directors.

SIZE OF THE PUBLICATION:

1 - 20 pages

DESCRIPTION OF CONTENTS:

The article is divided into two parts: the first part deals with psycho-physical consequences of bullying and the second part is about anti-bullying preventive strategies. As for the first part it is said that a recent review that appeared on scientific international literature has analysed the risks related to bullying dividing them according to age. During pre-adolescence bullying is mainly associated to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and to the development of symptoms of depression and anxiety. In the early adulthood there is a strong relationship between bullying and the development of mental disorders, no matter if the person involved is a victim, a bully or both bully and victim. In general there is a growth in anxiety and in depression as well as in personality disorders and it is also stated that at all ages self-confidence and phobic behaviours at school decrease as a consequence of drop-out, because the victim is forced to change school or to give up school. All researches agree that one of the main causes of suicide is bullying. The consequences are not limited to the period which immediately follows the bullying act, but it can be long-lasting. The victims suffer from negative effects on their psycho-physical wellbeing even after many years; there is an increase in cardiac-vascular disorders in victims of bullying and data highlight the fact that signs of psychic suffering can be found in witnesses who are not direcly involved. The second part deals with three strategies to prevent bullying at school, such as “curriculum intervention” to promote a positive attitude in class and to help students develop the ability to solve social conflicts. The second and most effective strategy is the “Whole school intervention” that involves students, teachers, group of peers, administration staff and has the task to foresee the rules and regulations together with penalties, problem-solving training, teachers’ training and individual counselling. The third strategy is called “social and behavioural skill - group intervention” and it can be focused directly on aggressive teenagers and victims of bullying and it aims at promoting social interaction with peers and at teaching students to ignore and not to react impulsively to provoking and irritating actions.

REVIEWER’S COMMENTS ON THE DOCUMENT:

This article is particulary interesting because it focuses on the main long lasting consequences analysed according to the age of people, such as anxiety and depression, mental and personality disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, drop out phenomenon and suicide. It also offers a wide variety of practical strategies to be applied at school because - as Mr Mencacci says - “Bullying is a complex phenomenon whose consequences are not only extended to the teenagers involved but they also involve the group, the family and the school”. All institutions must take part in the anti-bullying fight and I think that schools should start using the intervention strategies suggested in this article, which of course will take teachers a lot of time, but finally they will be a source of joy and satisfaction, necessary to establish a profitable human cohexistance. Some of the main intervention strategies to consider are the following: the creation of general rules stating that bullying is wrong and abominable and issuing the specific intervention strategies in case of bullying, the creation of an anonymous questionnaire to be submitted in class in order to identify bullying events that occur and occurred at school, the creation of a group based on teachers, headmaster, parents and administration staff having the task to monitor the program, to evaluate the results, to work out strict rules to put up on the corridor walls, to appoint a person whose task is to intervene in case of bullying, to make a list of penalties to be applied in order to punish bullying acts. Together with these global intervention strategies it is useful and necessary to evaluate the psycho-physical condition of the victims of bullying in order to start a specific action plan in case of potential psychical pathologies, and such intervention is aimed at evaluating anxiety and depression symptoms, suicide, the fear of school, isolation, self-esteem. If they are not noticed immediately, they will affect the whole life of people.

NAME OF THE REVIEWING ORGANISATION:

Don Milani

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