"I Am Not Scared" Project
Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Curriculum-based Anti-bullying
Intervention Program in Greek Primary Schools
Eleni Andreou, Eleni Didaskalou, Anastasia Vlachou
Educational Psychology- Routledge
Bullying, intervention, curricular activities, short-term and long-term effectiveness
Policy Makers, Teachers, Researchers.
1 - 20 pages
This research evaluated the short- and long-term effects of an anti-bullying intervention program in Greek primary schools. This is the first time that such a project has been conducted in Greece. The present intervention project was developed in response to the need for a curriculum-based program that teachers could implement with students and that could be empirically tested. Taking into consideration that victims are most often bullied by someone in their own class, the program reported in this study had the class as its starting point and used a short-term curriculum-based intervention.
The main research questions of the study were: is the intervention program effective in terms of
● reducing self-reported bullying and victimisation
● altering perceived participant role behaviours, especially the outsider role that the majority of children tend to adopt in relation to bullying
● reducing self-efficacy beliefs for aggression and enhancing self-efficacy beliefs for both assertion and intervening in bully/victim incidents
● promoting more positive interactions with peers?
The sample consisted of 454 pupils drawn from the fourth- to sixth-grade classrooms of 10 primary schools in central Greece. The program consisted of eight instructional hours implemented over approximately a one-month period, by the classroom teachers (after having been trained by the researchers). The program was developed along the three main axes proposed by Salmivalli(1999):
● raising awareness among students about the bullying problem and its seriousness, and about the group mechanisms involved
● creating opportunities for self-reflection so that students become aware of the participant roles they have taken in the bullying process
● making a commitment to new behaviours: this entailed offering students new ways of approaching conflict situations.
According to the findings of the study, the program works effectively, contributing to a positive reduction in outsider role behaviour and enhanced self-efficacy beliefs for both assertion and intervening in bully/victim incidents. The effectiveness of the program was greater for younger students and for girls in terms of minimising reinforcer behaviour. The evidence also indicates that the long-term effectiveness of the program was limited. These findings have important implications for interventions to tackle the negative effects associated with bullying in schools.
Initial efforts to tackle bullying and victimisation mainly focused on individual determinants of children’s psychosocial problems. However, the individualistic approach to bullying does not necessarily enable us to understand the maintenance of bully/victim problems, since bullying is not only a personal matter, but a complex social issue as well. To extend previous studies, this research evaluated the short- and long-term effects of an anti-bullying intervention program in Greek primary schools. As mentioned above, this is the first time that such a project has been conducted in Greece; it comes at a time when policy-makers are considering the next step in developing anti-bullying policy practices.
The present study provides a thorough theoretical framework of the ecological approach to bullying, that recognises that there is a dynamic relationship between the child’s individual characteristics on the one hand and the socio-environmental characteristics of the school on the other.
The intervention program was embedded within the wider curriculum of the classroom and was implemented by the classroom teachers. All of the teachers involved had received specific after-school training from the researchers. The aim of the teacher training was twofold: first, to raise their awareness of the bullying problem and its seriousness; and second, actively to engage them in the intervention and raise their self-efficacy in implementing particular anti-bullying curricular activities. The method of the research and the statistical analysis applied are fully described in the paper. The interesting about the procedure is that a within-subjects design was used in order to examine the experimental group data obtained before the intervention, immediately after the intervention, and after a six-month follow-up period.
Although the evidence indicates that the long-term effectiveness of the program was limited, the findings of the research corroborate the need of the application of curriculum-based intervention programs in schools, in order to combat bullying.
I Am Not Scared Project
Copyright 2017 - This project has been funded with support from the European Commission