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A Qualitative Analysis of the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Recommendations of Students in Grades 5 to 8
Charles E. Cunningham , Lesley J. Cunningham , Jenna Ratcliffe & Tracy Vaillancourt
a c d a b a

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Faculty of Education and School Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Available online: 27 Sep 2010

To cite this article: Charles E. Cunningham, Lesley J. Cunningham, Jenna Ratcliffe & Tracy Vaillancourt (2010): A Qualitative Analysis of the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Recommendations of Students in Grades 5 to 8, Journal of School Violence, 9:4, 321-338 To link to this article:

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University of Ottawa.54. Students advocated a comprehensive approach including uniforms. LLC ISSN: 1538-8220 print/1538-8239 online DOI: 10. 565 Sanatorium Road. to the school boards.2010. The authors express their appreciation to Diana Urajnik. prevention skills training. increased supervision. students suggested that parents should improve relationships with their children. Ontario. Canada Focus groups explored the bullying prevention suggestions of 62 Grade 5 to 8 students. and parents supporting this project. Hamilton. Received December 7. Stephanie Mielko. Cunningham. In addition.507146 A Qualitative Analysis of the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Recommendations of Students in Grades 5 to 8 CHARLES E. Address correspondence to Charles E. 2009. solution-focused 321 . E-mail: cunnic@hhsc. Discussions were transcribed and analyzed thematically.Journal of School Violence. Canada TRACY VAILLANCOURT Faculty of Education and School Psychology. This article was supported by a Community-University Research Alliance grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Ottawa. Canada JENNA RATCLIFFE Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences. Hamilton. Neuroscience and Behaviour. Hamilton.17. accepted July 2. 163. CUNNINGHAM Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences. a Canada Research Chair award from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research held by T. influential presenters.12] at 22:43 23 September 2011 LESLEY J. McMaster University. Cunningham. and Department of Psychology. McMaster University. McMaster University. Ontario. group restructuring to prevent social isolation. 2010. students. Canada. 9:321–338. Hamilton. and to Tiziana Filice-Greco for assisting with the conduct of focus groups. Canada Downloaded by [121. Canada. Evel Rm. Ontario L9C 7N4. Ontario. Ontario. 2010 Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group. Vaillancourt.1080/15388220. Hamilton. and meaningful consequences. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences. playground activities. and Catherine Campbell who provided editorial assistance. McMaster University. and the Jack Laidlaw Chair in Patient-Centred Health Care held by Dr. Ontario. CUNNINGHAM Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.

schools. 2009). 2009).322 C. Salmivalli. students suggest that schools prevent bullying by increasing supervision (Varjas et al. Peterson & Rigby. 2008). In comparison to teachers. Students could. and influencing the attitudes of younger pupils. 2007). students who are victimized. 2008) or using effective consequences (Peterson & Rigby. prevention. Cunningham et al. Previous studies have asked students to indicate how they would respond to bullying (Camodeca & Goossens. and the response of their peers to prevention programs (Bradshaw & Sawyer. focus groups) allowed the study to focus Downloaded by [121. and longitudinal trajectories of bullying.54.. 2005. they exert little effect on bullying behavior (Merrell. qualitative methods Bullying poses risks to the health and emotional well-being of both victims and perpetrators (Arseneault. students. provide a unique perspective on the components of prevention programs that work. respond to aggression. focus groups. concluded that.. 1999). there is a need to improve prevention and intervention programs. Ross. A growing number of investigators have concluded that the design of more effective bullying prevention programs should be informed by students (Booren & Handy. outcomes are often disappointing (Farrington & Ttofi. and self-perceptions.. correlates. KEYWORDS bullying. students know more about peers who bully. 2009. 2009. therefore.g.. Bowes. The failure to respond effectively to students who bully in defiance of antibullying presentations. Karhunen. This study builds on previous work by examining the bullying prevention suggestions of students in Grades 5 to 8. and support school-based discipline. and modifications that might improve outcomes. Qualitative methods (e. intervening earlier (Varjas et al. Camodeca & Goossens. E. for example. a time when bullying peaks (Vaillancourt et al. undermines prevention programs by reducing the willingness of bystanders to intervene or report bullying. and who retalitate when reported or disciplined. although programs have a modest effect on knowledge. A meta-analysis of 16 bullying prevention trials. factors limiting the impact of these programs. attitudes. 2007). 2008). The approach advocated by students is supported by meta-analyses of the effective components of bullying prevention trials. the conditions under which bullying occurs. Although reviews suggest that promising approaches to bullying prevention are emerging.12] at 22:43 23 September 2011 . & Shakoor. Gueldner. & Isava. 1999). When surveys provide an opportunity to record their comments. 2005).17. limit exposure to media violence. 1998) or to rate the effectiveness of different approaches to prevention (Booren & Handy. & Lagerspetz. 2008) and students lose confidence in the ability of their teachers to solve this problem (Bradshaw & Sawyer. Despite progress in understanding the prevalence.

a school social worker.Bullying Prevention 323 on prevention options of relevance to students. Students were assured they would not be named nor asked about their personal bullying experiences.12] at 22:43 23 September 2011 Procedures Small group discussions were adopted as a familiar format allowing students to respond to the suggestions of their peers.17. & Weist. Facilitators conducted introductions.. the facilitator asked. 2002). consents were returned. and a mixed group (to determine whether new themes would emerge). schools were junior kindergarten to Grade 8. “Does anyone have a suggestion about what else might reduce bullying at school?” Discussion was encouraged with the following prompts: “What do others think of this suggestion?”. four boy groups. described the project and obtained assent. 2008). Assuming boys and girls have different perspectives and are less inhibited in same sex groups (Nabors. compare the suggestions of boys and girls. “Could other students tell me about this example?”. and 67 students were randomly selected (39 girls and 28 boys). With one junior kindergarten (age 4) to Grade 5 exception. Using a structured interview guide. explore design recommendations in depth. “Can anyone give us an example of something that schools are doing to help stop bullying?” Facilitators flexibly encouraged discussion with the following prompts: “Could you tell us a little more about this example?”. Ramos. One focus group was conducted in each of five schools and two groups were conducted in three schools. METHOD Participants This study was approved by the university/hospital Research Ethics Board and the public and Catholic school systems that participated. “What do other students think?”. identify factors influencing the effectiveness of existing programs. “Do others . were conducted. and participated. and “Why do you think this reduces bullying at school?” Next. 62 students were present. and generate a rich narrative supporting inductive theory development and the interpretation of findings from the project’s quantitative stage. six girl groups. Downloaded by [121. the project was introduced to Grade 5 to 8 classes (see Table 1) at coeducational publicly funded schools randomly selected from areas representing the diverse demographics of an urban and suburban Canadian industrial community of 505.000 residents. “Do you think this reduces bullying at school?”. and asked (in their own words). defined bullying (Vaillancourt et al. signed assents.54. Using a stratified purposeful sampling strategy (Patton. with the support of a research assistant. 2001). A project description and consent form was sent to parents.

g. Data collection was discontinued when a review of the final focus group’s transcript revealed no new themes (Patton. E. TABLE 1 Bullying Prevention Themes Emerging From the Study’s 11 Focus Groups Girls Bullying prevention themes Organizational & structural approaches Increase monitoring and supervision Organize recess activities Mandate school uniforms Restructure high risk settings Relational approaches Include isolated students Restructure peer groups Mobilize older student influences Teach social skills Improve parenting Antibullying campaign Provide inclusive definitions Organize antibullying presentations Post antibullying reminders Responding to bullying Encourage assertive responses Engage bystanders Encourage reporting Organize discussion groups Give meaningful consequences Inform parents 5/6 6 7 7 7/8 8 Mixed 5/6 5 Boys 6 6 8 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Downloaded by [121. To reduce potential gender biases. Data Analysis Audio recordings were transcribed and identifiers were removed. 2002).324 C. Cunningham et al. Investigators noted suppositions and biases (e. and “Why do you think this would reduce bullying at school?” Reliability coding showed that 95% of 7 key interview guide components were present.54. .12] at 22:43 23 September 2011 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • think this would reduce bullying at school?”. 2002). and a school social worker reviewed transcripts and developed preliminary thematic categories (Patton. a research assistant. 2002). The lead investigator.17.. for example. two investigators developed and evaluated peer mediation programs) and attempted to limit their influence (Patton.

they really [wouldn’t] want to bully they’d be playing. do not pay attention to bullying: “They’re too busy talking to each other instead of looking for . Initial interobserver agreement on the occurrence of themes in a random sample of three groups was 81%. . A researcher without links to the schools used NVivo-7 to code the transcripts. 2002). definitions were revised. schools could prevent bullying by organizing recess activities: “Bullying usually happens when people need something to do .” Supervisors.” Bullying could be prevented by restructuring the physical environment. . There’s too much area to cover.” INCREASE SUPERVISION Playground supervisors are unable to observe many bullying episodes: “They can’t see everything that’s going on. and separating older and younger students: “They should have teachers in the hall not letting the intermediates [Grades 7–8] all just rush out our door and to tell them to go to their own door.RISK SETTINGS The architecture of schools contributed to bullying problems: “Like for our school for instance. like different games for people to go and play at so the children would be occupied . reducing the number of students in high risk settings. they’re usually only on the pavement. moreover.12] at 22:43 23 September 2011 RESULTS Organizational and Structural Approaches to Prevention RESTRUCTURE HIGH . . Downloaded by [121. Table 1 summarizes the grade and sex of the participants in the study’s 11 focus groups and the distribution of bullying prevention themes across groups. and new codes were introduced. Discrepancies were resolved via consensus. . two investigators with expertise in school-based prevention independently reviewed the transcripts.Bullying Prevention 325 male and female investigators participated at all stages of the data analysis. because a lot of them are bored and they want something fun so they tease little kids”. Next. Quotations representing recurring themes were selected and transcripts were searched for supporting and disconfirming examples (Patton. some of the bullying happens near the portables [portable classrooms] because they’re out of sight and there’s not really any teachers usually on the grass for duty.” ORGANIZE RECESS ACTIVITIES Because bullying occurs when students are unoccupied.17. “Maybe they could put up games.54. It’s just not possible.

they can’t do it. and everybody in your class is wearing pants or a skirt and you’re the one that gets picked on for the day. students with friends were also at risk: . .12] at 22:43 23 September 2011 MANDATE SCHOOL UNIFORMS Because differences in clothing triggered bullying. “They send their friends to talk to the teacher to distract them from it so they won’t know about it. Cunningham et al.” Others felt that students would simply exploit differences in the way uniforms were worn: We always have debates on that because you might be the only person that’s wearing shorts. several groups proposed the installation of surveillance cameras: “When the teachers are gone.” Downloaded by [121.” Students who bully surreptitiously or enable bullying by distracting teachers compounded this problem: “But if they know there’s a teacher around they would lower their voices so they wouldn’t get caught .” Increased supervision could also be accomplished via students: “The people who want to prevent bullying can be like monitors outside to help the kids.” Although relationships afforded some protection.” Students and teachers should share responsibility for the inclusion of isolated pupils: “If you see somebody like sitting there ask them if they want to play with you”.” Indeed.” The victimization of new students could be reduced by integrating them into existing peer groups: “If there are any new kids like somebody from the class could go and greet them and maybe include them in a game instead of leaving them alone so .326 C. Relational Approaches INCLUDE ISOLATED STUDENTS Isolated students were perceived to be especially vulnerable to bullying: “Bullying usually happens if you’re alone and you have no one to be with. E. situations. bullies tend to go for a lonesome person. your uniform.17. . he or she could easily be a target for a bully.” Increasing supervision in high risk settings was a recurrent theme: “Have more teachers on duty and spread them out more. some participants proposed that schools adopt uniforms: “I think it would definitely reduce bullying because you can’t judge what other people are wearing because they’re wearing exactly the same thing. . it’s a totally different world for us kids so if they have cameras then.54. “If teachers see someone get discluded [sic] or whatever. students questioned whether supervisors were motivated to reduce bullying: “They make a big deal about [it] and they don’t even care. they see other people going to help them and bring them into their group.”. . the teachers.” Finally.

54. if they see us doing things bad. You’re being bullied because they can make stuff up. MOBILIZE OLDER STUDENT INFLUENCES Older students could reduce bullying by setting a positive example: Well. . well of course they’re probably going to try to copy us. darkest secrets because you trusted them and then all of a sudden. they turn around on your back. then they can go tell everybody everything you told them. Older students could also influence younger students by making antibullying presentations: “Like older kids presenting to younger kids. they turn on you . then you would end up hanging out with them after school and you realize that you did have a lot in common and that would keep you from bullying him. “Ah.17. I guess we sort of like set an example so they grow up to know that bullying isn’t okay.” But now. . so if we keep a good influence on them. . I don’t want to hang out with them. RESTRUCTURE PEER GROUPS Downloaded by [121. . because you tell them everything when you think they’re your best friend and then if . . after you’ve been on the same team as them. schools should regroup students to prevent the emergence of cliques: “Getting more people involved in different things to meet new friends. rather than simply telling students not to bully: “Most people respond better to positive things than negative things .Bullying Prevention 327 Friends are the main cause of bullying .” Others felt schools should specifically . . little kids looking up to us and all. . . .” TEACH SOCIAL SKILLS Several groups suggested that schools strengthen relationships by teaching social skills. probably it will spread and more and more people will be good to each other and not bully each other.12] at 22:43 23 September 2011 Because participants believed exclusive groups contributed to bullying by isolating students. but that’s where most of the separation like group bullying and verbal bullying comes from. . Because there’s like so many different cliques and stuff.” One student reasoned: You can end up hanging out with people that you wouldn’t normally think of hanging out with because you used to not know them and you used to think. Because they feel you’ve told them your deepest. if you teach them to be a good citizen it would end up helping them more over their entire life than just telling them not to bully.

Cunningham et al.” Schools should encourage parents to monitor their child’s viewing: “Send a note home .” Students recommended that parents improve relationships with their children: “The key to preventing bullying is letting their parents know and telling their parents to give them more attention. some people know what’s going on and know what their . I find that can be a big thing. it’s really hard. and it’s good because most of the time almost everyone gets an award so it doesn’t make you feel like.12] at 22:43 23 September 2011 PARENTING Parents exert an important influence on bullying: “I think most people bully because they want attention. like they explain it a lot but I don’t know if they give us so many ways to prevent it. girls. [they’re] not going to think that’s bad for them to do that.” everybody gets one.” Schools should also reward prosocial behavior: Something that’s like a good way to encourage students is. I know we have monthly awards at our school. that gossiping and I’m like really trying to stop. group bullying. . IMPROVE Downloaded by [121. Like it’s a form of bullying. Their parents .54.328 C. teach bullying prevention skills: “They talk a lot about cyber bullying. They don’t have nothing at home.17. But. “Oh you got an award. . . kind of be together no matter your race.” Antibullying Campaigns DEFINE BULLYING INCLUSIVELY Girls felt that students need to be better informed regarding relational bullying: I think we need to like really put it out there that like gossiping and all that stuff is like bullying. physical bullying. Like I just learned that this year.” Other parents fail to deal effectively with coercive behavior: “Something at home like when they are swearing at their mom or dad or sister .” Social skills training should begin early: “Starting from little grades.” Students also felt that violent media contributed to bullying at school: “They get the bullying from shows and stuff and they think that it’s really cool. you know. . your religion stuff. verbal bullying. . . telling the parents watch what the kids are watching to make sure that they’re still appropriate. don’t pay attention to their kids. getting them to share. you’re no good. Participants also included cyber bullying in their discussions: Some people do this. E. like when they go on the computer talking to their friend.

like you know them because you can trust them more than some person you don’t even know. then one in the middle to refresh their memories about it and then one at the very. . very end of the year . “I think most people cyberbully because. Students. .” Students suggested the source of antibullying messages influenced their effectiveness. he’s in charge. like a principal or just some guy. And all the younger kids look up to a police officer more than. . Similarly. in reality. would have a greater influence than adults: Probably the students would listen more to the students than to the adults . interesting. for example.Bullying Prevention 329 conversation is and they tell it to the whole school and that’s how bullying is. so they have that message stuck in their head through the whole summer. and timed strategically: “[Presentations] should never be too long or like too boring because people might just space out and then they don’t really listen so nothing would be accomplished then.12] at 22:43 23 September 2011 ANTIBULLYING PRESENTATIONS The design of antibullying communications was a recurrent theme. he runs things and if we do something wrong we’re going to get in trouble for it. . they’re getting bullied and it’s a way for them to feel that they’re in control in a way that they won’t get in trouble.54. for example. . need to be brief.” ORGANIZE Downloaded by [121. Presentations. say. Some suggested cyberbullying was unintentional: “What happens about cyberbullying though is that they may be just joking around and then the other person will take it more offensively than it was supposed to be meant. It’ll sort of be better than just letting the principal or teacher talk about bullying.” Others thought cyberbullying provided a safe way of retaliating. like. Videos would be more engaging than verbal presentations: “A school could make a school commercial for itself about the bullying and stuff and they could show it at the assemblies.17. police officers bring greater authority to antibullying presentations than other adults: Most people see a police officer or somebody who. . . . because it’s better to hear from someone your own age.” or: Maybe have one at the beginning of the year to remind the students about it. yeah and your own classmates.

stand-up or they won’t say anything because they know if they say something to the teacher. some suspected presentations might compound bullying problems: “They won’t listen they’ll do exactly the opposite. “. . . Others questioned the effectiveness of antibullying presentations: “From what I’ve seen I don’t think it really affects how they bully. . . ‘Okay. . “.” Another student suggested that antibullying videos might have a paradoxical effect on some younger students: But we wouldn’t show them [younger students] the actual videos because then after they’ll tend to like they’re more immature so then after they’ll say like. . placed strategically. Like the one I usually see is by the water fountain”. it kind of depends on what your character is . “Oh my God this is funny. I don’t really care”’.12] at 22:43 23 September 2011 POST ANTIBULLYING REMINDERS Posters should focus on solutions and consequences: “Maybe we could put posters that would show some of the consequences or what a victim would do or what a bully does instead of just saying ‘Don’t Bully!”’ Posters need to be developmentally appropriate.330 C. . places where everybody is going. Just tell them the way you feel but not do it back because then you’re not treating them the way that you would want to be treated.17. okay. Downloaded by [121. if I was a bully I’d probably be like.” Indeed. . and changed regularly: “. bullies just like rip them off and put them in the garbage.” and start laughing at it and start doing it. “. . ‘Oh. . Cunningham et al. they’re gonna think you’re a fool.” Others cautioned that responding assertively was risky: “If you try to stand up for yourself. so like maybe change the posters after a while .”.” Similarly: I think a lot of the time kids won’t take charge. E. it’s just some dumb poster. . . the poster should be more age appropriate for the older grades and the younger grades . it’s not cool but then you can’t do nothing to prevent it. .’ and then they’ll go back to bullying right after. . They’ll sit there and they’ll be like. .” Responding to Bullying ENCOURAGE ASSERTIVE RESPONSES Some suggested that students respond assertively when bullied: “You could stand up for yourself but not be starting anything more. When you just try to stand up for yourself. . put them in .” Others questioned the effectiveness of antibullying posters: “Well.54. when we put posters up in our school everyone notices them because nothing’s been there before. .

in particular. maybe . if we see something going on.” Some girls felt that interacting with victims might help students develop a different perspective: “If you bring them together they might start realizing what all these people have done and then after they’ll see.17. you wouldn’t like anybody else to by stand. like maybe someone is being mean to another person. “Well.Bullying Prevention 331 they know they’ll get in a bit of trouble but then that kid will get more bullied that they have ever been. Then no problems will happen. if you told a teacher he [the student who bullies] would probably try to beat you up again.12] at 22:43 23 September 2011 Older students. So.” Others cautioned that reporting bullying could complicate an incident.54. you’d like some one to go to the teacher for you and stand up to the bully. It will just fix it. How would you feel if you were the victim? Downloaded by [121.” ENCOURAGE REPORTING Some students advocated anonymous reporting options: “I think that maybe the kids can go tell their teacher. “Okay what you’re doing isn’t cool. then we should go over there and be like. when they see other people that are bullied it would help them. let’s say if you talk to the person. then they’re gonna tell their friends and it’s gonna spread”. there’s so many people bullying. need to stand up for those who are bullied: We should help the younger kids when we are outside. “Usually people are afraid of being called a rat and being made fun of so they don’t report it”. or prompt retaliation: “If you tell your parents. say it’s anonymous. ‘Oh my God.” Others were concerned about the risks of bystander interventions: “Usually when you try to stick up for somebody who is different you’ll end up getting bullied and there will no one to stick up for you. damage reputations. ENGAGE BYSTANDERS Bystanders perpetuate bullying and increase the distress experienced by victims: You could bring all the bystanders together and tell them that if you were bullied.” ENCOURAGE DISCUSSION Girls thought discussion groups could support students who are victims: “Maybe bring the victims in together.

332 C.” Students who bully. . ‘Let out their feelings. Cunningham et al. “It’s kind of more relaxed when you’re with your friends and there’s not an adult there.” Rather than minimizing the problem of bullying by younger students.” Conversely. there’s not any serious consequences so I’m going to do it anyway. . in contrast. ‘Oh cool there is no school. moreover. expressed concern about the risks of grouping students who bully with their victims: “I think it would be a bad idea because then the bully may hurt the kid even more because then they’re even closer and could get even more annoyed.”’ Suspensions could also prompt retaliation: . . Educators.” The need for meaningful consequences was a recurrent theme: “If you made the consequences bad I don’t really think they are going to do it over and over again. could lose recreational activities: “They could have their recesses taken away. Downloaded by [121. they don’t care if they bully anyway because they think that.54.” Boys proposed solution-focused discussions: “I think there should be like a class where if people who get bullied they have to go to this class and they can’t leave until they resolve the problem and they get along again. “If they know that they are going to get suspended and .” Teachers. they should send the bully and the person who got bullied . for example. E.” They preferred small peer-led groups: “Like.17. .12] at 22:43 23 September 2011 I should stop.”’ Boys. in a small group everybody has an equal opportunity to talk and share their ideas with everyone else”. . may discipline innocent students: “I think that supervisors should care more about what happened because a few times kids get blamed and get more in trouble than the kid who actually did it.” Other students acknowledged the limits of consequences. schools should treat early signs of bullying more seriously: “I think they find like okay they’re little so maybe they just did the wrong thing but you do need to correct mistakes and show what’s right and what’s wrong. she won’t give him as big a punishment than she would to other people. they should say something like.” GIVE MEANINGFUL CONSEQUENCES The absence of effective consequences perpetuated bullying: “If they’re not clear on the consequences they think. oh. may be biased by their relationships with students: “If a teacher likes a student and she or he sees something they’re doing to somebody during her detail. .”’ Other girls advocated groups encouraging the expression of feelings: “If someone says something or bullies someone in class they should send those people to that class .” Participants expressed conflicting views regarding suspensions: “Maybe when they come back to school they’ll be a whole different person and not bully people. for example.

so I think it might be a bad idea.” DISCUSSION The approach to bullying prevention recommended by students was grounded in a contextual framework with structural. Students also recommended that prevention programs address the social and relational architecture of their schools (Pepler. & Craig. 2010). not all parents would support the school’s disciplinary efforts: “I don’t know if it does work because some parents. social learning. 2009). and developmental components (O’Connell.” Consequences at home and school were perceived to be more effective: “They’ll have to deal with the school’s consequences on top of what their parent’s consequences are. According to a structural and organization perspective. bullying occurs in settings where students are unoccupied and supervision is limited or ineffective (Craig. 1994). and the deployment of surveillance cameras. Because victims lacked the power to respond effectively (Olweus. 2000. INFORM PARENTS Downloaded by [121. Vaillancourt et al. Students recommended alert. 1999. Others suggested that programs focus more specifically on strategies for preventing and responding to bullying. organized recess activities. and encouraging the development of new friendships. Pepler. the relative effectiveness of these approaches merits study. Meta-analyses suggest that the increased supervision students advocated is associated with improved prevention program outcomes (Farrington & Ttofi. Salmivalli. & Atlas. 2006) by ensuring that socially isolated peers are included in group activities. start saying all this stuff to him or start a fight. relational. participants recommended that older students and bystanders take a more active role in the prevention of bullying. Given reviews questioning the benefits of social skills training as an approach to bullying prevention (Vreeman & Carroll. strategically located supervision. so they’re just going to do it again.” Unfortunately. they don’t really care what their kids do at school . Pepler. .. organizational.17. .12] at 22:43 23 September 2011 Participants recommended that schools inform the parents of students who bully: “I think they should contact the parents and let them know what their kid is doing to the other kid.Bullying Prevention 333 If you tell a teacher or something or get suspended maybe the next time they’re coming to school they’re going to be really mad. 2007). restructuring peer groups to prevent the emergence of cliques.54. . 1999). Some students advocated a preventive approach strengthening relationships in the primary grades by teaching social skills.

Although they questioned the benefits of presentations by teachers. E. The recommendations of students were also grounded in a social learning perspective. an assumption with empirical support (Holt.54. 2007). 2009). a suggestion supported by evidence that adult definitions of bullying are more comprehensive than those adopted by students (Vaillancourt et al. Future studies should determine whether boys and girls respond to different antibullying rationales or prevention program components. for example. studies examining the effectiveness of different approaches to antibullying presentations should be helpful. To maximize attention. Students proposed that the response of bystanders and the absence of effective Downloaded by [121.334 C. suggest groups encouraging the expression of feelings. Students felt that bullying was also influenced by relationships at home. Sherman. provide support to victims. 1977). & Updegraff. Cunningham et al.12] at 22:43 23 September 2011 . congruence with dispositional motivations (Mann.. Within a broader contextual framework. They recommended that parents spend more time with their children. Boys. & Finkelhor. 1997). Girls evidenced a greater interest in relational approaches to prevention. They recommended that schools ensure students understand the behaviors included in antibullying policies. and limit exposure to media violence. 2009). recommendations consistent with marketing research (Moorthy & Hawkins. These suggestions are consistent with those of educators supporting parental participation in bullying prevention (Cunningham et al. acknowledge the impact of relational bullying. and support their recommendations with empathic rationales. Students suggested that the effectiveness of antibullying communications varied as a function of their source. students recommended that antibullying posters be positioned strategically and changed frequently. in contrast. Sherman. & Updegraff. they proposed that talks by older students and police officers would have a greater influence. Mann. 2006). were concerned about the risks associated with groups combining bullies and victims. 2009) and reviews finding parental involvement associated with improved prevention outcomes (Farrington & Ttofi. 2004. Sherman. and message quality (Updegraff. 2005). Luyster. Kantor. & Mann. student recommendations reflected an information processing approach to bullying prevention. 2008). They proposed small peer led groups focusing on solutions to bullying problems. They advocated solution-focused rather than negative messages and reminded developers that the content of bullying prevention programs needs to be developmentally appropriate. They were more likely to propose the inclusion of socially isolated students.. deal more effectively with aggression.17. Given evidence that the impact of health promotion communications varies as a function framing effects (Rothman & Salovey. support the school’s disciplinary efforts. with older students acting as models influencing the attitudes and behavior of younger pupils (Bandura.

suspensions). emphasize the importance of identifying mechanisms via which programs might compound bully-victim problems in a subset of students (Farrington & Ttofi. moreover. McCord. Craig. This study’s participants described students who ignore antibullying communications. 2009) with strategies targeting students who do not respond to the universal components of the program. although this qualitative study suggests important bullying prevention themes. or report. 2009). produced inconsistent and sometimes paradoxical effects. 2008). Because schools operated according to mandated violence prevention policies. Moreover.. individual interviews might have revealed views that participants were hesitant to express in a group setting. Practically.17. The approach to prevention emerging from this study reflects the views of students in Canada. 2006).. quantitative studies are required to determine how widely these views are shared. distract supervisors. These students undermine prevention programs by influencing the attitudes of peers and reducing the willingness of other students to intervene in. Severe consequences (e. Because focus groups may have included students who bully. they acknowledged the difficulties associated with punishment: teachers fail to detect most bullying episodes. and retaliate when reported or suspended. 1999). victimize peers in defiance of antibullying presentations. Study Limitations This study’s findings must be understood within the context in which focus groups were conducted. 1999). and evidence that group interventions for externalizing problems may yield negative outcomes (Dishion.Bullying Prevention 335 Downloaded by [121. an assumption consistent with meta-analyses (Farrington & Ttofi. bullying episodes. although an approach to data analysis designed to enhance the credibility of the study’s findings was adopted. punish innocent students. the possibility that interviewers or coders influenced the findings cannot be ruled out. 2009). Trajectory studies identify a cluster of students who are persistently involved in bullying (Pepler. Jiang. 2008. & Connolly. these findings suggest the need to combine the school-wide approaches favored by students and teachers (Cunningham et al. and bring relational biases to disciplinary decisions. . 2007).54.12] at 22:43 23 September 2011 consequences reinforced bullying (O’Connell et al.g. Although they thought moderate consequences deterred bullying. students had been exposed to antibullying programs and were knowledgeable about this problem. & Poulin.. seem immune to consequences. Finally. Pinheiro. a country where the prevalence of bullying remains relatively high (Currie et al. the perception that teachers complicate bullying problems (Bradshaw & Sawyer. remove posters. Both factors may limit the generality of the study’s conclusions.. The comments of this study’s participants.

Camodeca. 8. students identified many opportunities to improve these programs.1017/S0033291709991383 Bandura.. E. H.. To translate these findings into practice.. 2009). L. 2009). (2009). & Shakoor.54. (2007). 2009).17. M. and training (Cunningham et al. Educational Research. Bullying and peer victimization at school: Perceptual differences between students and school staff. J. Booren. Social learning theory.1177/0143034300211002 Cunningham. 233–250. School Psychology International. 37. one participating school system presented educators with bullying prevalence data for their school. K. L.12] at 22:43 23 September 2011 REFERENCES Arseneault. educators prefer programs requiring less training and implementation time (Cunningham et al. D. Cunningham et al.1080/0013188042000337587 Craig. students advocated a comprehensive approach that was consistent with the conclusions of meta-analyses examining the components of bullying prevention programs that are associated with improved outcomes (Farrington & Ttofi. & Sawyer... 40. 22–36... (2009). 47. Although the comprehensive approach students proposed is consistent with meta-analyses (Farrington & Ttofi. F. W. R. Rimas. A. J. doi:10. D. & Handy. 361–382. 929–943. Bowes. 717–729. & Chen. C.. Downloaded by [121. Short. 36. Vaillancourt. & Goossens. Introducing the more comprehensive programs needed to reduce bullying will require a greater investment in administrative support. Students’ perceptions of the importance of school safety strategies: An introduction to the IPSS survey. Deal. Bullying victimization in youths and mental health problems: ‘Much ado about nothing’? Psychological Medicine.1177/0143034300211002 .. Journal of School Violence. M. S. 93–105. composed a checklist of this study’s student recommendations. A. & Atlas. doi:10. Englewood Cliffs. Conclusions Qualitative methods could enable students to provide their schools with valuable insights during the program implementation process. J. Children’s opinions on effective strategies to cope with bullying: The importance of bullying role and perspective. Cunningham. E. Pepler. and to share the results of this process with colleagues. K. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. encouraged school teams to identify program improvement opportunities..1080/15388220902910672 Bradshaw..336 C. 21. 2009). (2000). A. L. doi:10. Modeling the bullying prevention program preferences of educators: A discrete choice conjoint experiment.. (2010). (2005). School Psychology Review. T.. C. Observations of bullying in the playground and in the classroom. L. P. Although their schools had implemented components of the approach participants recommended. NJ: Prentice Hall. (1977).. staffing. L. Collectively.. Y. doi:10. doi:10.

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