As mentioned in the last post from the Dear Colleague letter, bullying prevention programs have some significant positive effects. Therefore, I wanted to post some of the research behind this claim, and provide an example of one of these programs.
In terms of documentation that bullying prevention programs have somewhat positive effects, Merrell, Gueldner, Ross, & Isava (2008) conducted a meta-analysis and found that across 16 included quality studies, there is SOME evidence that these programs have positive effects. Their “results lead us to conclude—somewhat tentatively—that there is some evidence supporting the effectiveness of school bullying interventions in enhancing students social competence, self-esteem, and peer acceptance; in enhancing teachers knowledge of effective practices, feelings of efficacy regarding intervention skills, and actual behavior in responding to incidences of bullying at school; and, to a lesser extent, in reducing participation by students in bully and victim roles” (Merrell et al., 2008, p. 38). However, many of the effects were weak, and may not be clinically significant. Further research is needed, especially in specifically impacting bullying behaviors.
One example of a bullying prevention program that is commonly used and well-known is the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, which comes out of Clemson University, and has been used and evaluated at all grade levels. According to their website (http://www.clemson.edu/olweus/index.html), “the program’s goals are to reduce and prevent bullying problems among schoolchildren and to improve peer relations at school. The program has been found to reduce bullying among students, improve the social climate of classrooms, and reduce related antisocial behaviors, such as vandalism and truancy. The Olweus Program has been implemented in more than a dozen countries around the world, and in thousands of schools in the United States.” Training in the Olweus method involves a 2-day training by a certified trainer, and repeated trainings occur every year. However, this program is rather expensive (up to $3000 + travel costs and ongoing consultation fees as needed), unless you pay to have your own trainer certified.
A link to current trainers in Ohio is available at: http://www.clemson.edu/olweus/trainers/Ohio.pdf. For other states, you can select your state from the dropdown at http://www.clemson.edu/olweus/trainers.html.
Merrell, K. W., Gueldner, B. A., Ross, S. W., & Isava, D. M. (2008). How effective are school bullying intervention programs? A meta-analysis of intervention research. School psychology quarterly, 23(1), 26.