Characteristics of effective anti-bullying interventions: What research says

Year: 2005

Author: Finger, Linda, Craven, Rhonda, Marsh, Herb, Parada, Roberto

Type of paper: Refereed paper

School bullying has been universally recognised as damaging psychological, social, academic and even physical development of children (Marsh, Parada et al., 2004; Pellegrini, 2004). A well-designed anti-bully program that tackles school bullying is therefore an important mission for establishing desirable educational environments and positive pathways to self-reliance for the younger generation. The purpose of this paper is to review the extant anti-bullying research to identify salient features of successful interventions and identify directions for future research. Findings indicate that effective intervention programs have some common features; they: (1) adopt a whole-school community approach and school-based implementation strategies that impact on the school ethos; (2) target bullies, victims and bystanders; (3) use intervention strategies at the individual level; (4) assist teachers, parents and students by providing information; (5) include community agencies such as health services; (6) integrate anti-bullying into the school curriculum (Jenkin, 1996); and (7) integrate cognitive-behavioural strategies to maintain long-term change. Further, while some intervention programs considered in this review meet some of these criteria (e.g., Rigby & Slee, 1993; Jenkin, 1996; Olweus, 1997), their effectiveness has not been adequately determined by state-of-the art research methodology. To address the latter suggested strategies for strengthening anti-bullying intervention research are presented.