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Bullying: A Perspective from Educational Psychology

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1 Bullying: A Perspective from Educational Psychology
Dr Victoria Lewis Senior Practitioner Educational Psychologist & Academic and Professional Tutor School of Psychology University of Nottingham

2 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES To consider definitions of bullying and the prevalence of bullying in schools To consider bullying as a social phenomenon To consider potential implications of bullying in schools To consider the role of educational psychologists in facilitating anti-bullying interventions in schools Dr Victoria Lewis

What is bullying, and what distinguishes it from other problem behaviours in schools (for example, aggressive behaviour displayed between peers)? What is the prevalence of bullying behaviour in schools? What are the most common forms of bullying experienced by children in schools? Why is bullying sometimes classed as a social phenomenon? What are some of the effects of bullying? What can psychology offer to the study of bullying / anti-bullying strategies in schools? Dr Victoria Lewis

4 WHAT IS BULLYING? Definitions “Bullying is a subtype of aggressive behaviour in which the perpetrator exerts power over a weaker victim through various means including physical size or strength, age or psychological advantage, and which is repeated over time” Vaillancourt, Hymel & McDougall (2003) “Systematic abuse of power which repeatedly and deliberately (Smith & Sharp 1994) harms others (Hazler 1996)” Dr Victoria Lewis

5 Core Elements Imbalance of Power Intentional Repeated over Time
Orpinas & Horne (2006) Dr Victoria Lewis

6 What Bullying Isn’t “ An odd fight or quarrel between children of approximately equal strength is not classed as bullying” Sharp & Smith (1994) Dr Victoria Lewis

7 Direct-Physical – kicking, hitting, pushing, taking belongings
Types of Bullying Direct-Physical – kicking, hitting, pushing, taking belongings Direct-Verbal – name-calling, taunting, mocking, making threats Indirect-Relational – excluding people from groups, deliberately ignoring, gossiping, spreading rumours Dr Victoria Lewis

UK Study of 230 pupils (6 secondary schools, 6 primary schools) 51% year 5 pupils thought bullying was a big problem or quite a big problem in their school 51% reported they had been bullied that term 28% year 8 pupils thought bullying was a ‘big problem’ or ‘quite a big problem’ in their school Oliver & Candappe (2002) Dr Victoria Lewis

9 Study of 6000 pupils in Sheffield schools (24 schools)
27% primary school pupils and 20% secondary school pupils said they had been bullied that term Whitney & Smith (1993) Dr Victoria Lewis

10 3 media based surveys of 7,066 boys and girls aged 13-19
Up to 12-13% had experienced severe bullying (time base unspecified) The figure rose to 25% for children from minority ethnic groups Another 42-47% felt they had been less severely bullied About half the pupils were bullied by a group Katz, Buchanan & Bream (2001) Dr Victoria Lewis

11 19% said they had bullied others sometimes or more often
US study of students 17% reported having been bullied sometimes or more often during the school year 19% said they had bullied others sometimes or more often 6% reported both bullying others and being a victim of bullying Nansel (2001) Dr Victoria Lewis

Name-calling was the most prevalent Social isolation was also common Physical aggression was less common Similar levels of bullying reported by boys and girls There was a higher incidence among black and asian students (33%) compared with white (26%) and other ethnic groups (30%) Oliver & Candappe (2002) Dr Victoria Lewis

13 Relational bullying was more common among girls (Crick & Nelson 2002)
Verbal and relational forms of bullying occur more often than physical bullying (Rivers & Soutter 1996) Verbal bullying was twice as common as physical bullying (Craig & Pepler 1997) Relational bullying was more common among girls (Crick & Nelson 2002) Dr Victoria Lewis

14 Bullying using electronic devices such as mobile phones and computers
Cyber Bullying Bullying using electronic devices such as mobile phones and computers 92 students aged from 14 London schools completed a survey on bullying. 22% had experienced cyber bullying at least once. 6.6% had experienced being bullied in this way in the previous two months 33% of the sample who had experienced cyber bullying had told no one about it Anti-Bullying Alliance (2005) Videos) Dr Victoria Lewis

15 Psychological Theories of Bullying Socio-Cognitive Deficits
Social Learning Theory Attachment Theory Social Dominance Theory Ecological Systems Theory Frederickson (2008) Dr Victoria Lewis

Bullying frequently occurs in the presence of peers but the actions of those peers more often encourage the bullying than stop it (Craig & Pepler 1997) An audience to bullying is consistent and may provide the person doing the bullying with positive reinforcement (Olweus 1991) The increases in arousal levels when watching bullying may encourage children who would normally not act aggressively, to become involved (Olweus 1991) Dr Victoria Lewis

17 Peers were involved in 85% of playground bullying
Peer Involvement Peers were involved in 85% of playground bullying 54% of peers’ time was spent reinforcing bullying by passively watching 21% of peers’ time was spent actively supporting bullies 25% of peers’ time was spent intervening on behalf of victims and 75% of these peer interventions were successful in stopping bullying O’Connell et al (1990) Dr Victoria Lewis

18 ‘The invisible engine in the cycle of bullying’
Bystanders ‘The invisible engine in the cycle of bullying’ Twemlow (2001) A person who does not actively become involved in a situation where someone else requires help (Clarkson 1996) As the number of bystanders increases the likelihood that someone will intervene to stop the situation decreases. This is known as the diffusion of responsibility (Latane & Darley 1970) Dr Victoria Lewis

19 Bystander Effect May be a diffusion of responsibility… Leaving it to others to sort out? They may find it difficult to support in reality… Lack of effective strategies? May be concerned about their own safety and preservation… They may fear being bullied themselves? They may not understand bullying or have the skills to intervene effectively Craig & Peplers (1997) Dr Victoria Lewis

20 Assistant – joins in and assists the person doing the bullying
Roles in Bullying ‘Bully’ Assistant – joins in and assists the person doing the bullying Reinforcer – does not actively attack the victim but provides positive feed back to the person bullying Defender – shows anti-bullying behaviour – comforting the victim; taking sides with them and trying to stop the bullying Outsider – stays away not taking sides with anyone - allows bullying to continue by silent approval Victim Salmivalli (1996; 1999) Dr Victoria Lewis

21 Typical Characteristics of those who Bully Strong need to dominate
Impulsive and easily angered Defiant and aggressive towards other adults Shows little empathy Physically stronger (if male) Olweus 1990 Not low self-esteem – those doing the bullying may be among the most popular or socially connected children (Olweus 1991) Not unpopular (Rodkin 2000) Dr Victoria Lewis

Not a personality trait but a response to a set of circumstances (Rivers & Soutter 1996) 1 in 5 children who bully may have been bullied themselves Setting events are a very important determinant Soutter & McKenzie (2000) Dr Victoria Lewis

23 Typical Characteristics of those Victimised
Cautious, sensitive, quiet, withdrawn, shy Depressed Often do not have single good friend Physically weaker (if male) Olweus 1990 The pupil may have a particular characteristic that makes them stand out: …They may have special educational needs (O’Moore & Hilley 1989) …Be of a minority community (Sharp & Smith 1994) …May not fit gender stereotypes (Shakeshaft et al 1995) Dr Victoria Lewis

24 EFFECTS OF BULLYING Bullying can cause emotional and physical harm
Affect learning and attendance Young people who commit physical bullying at an early age are more likely to become involved in violent crime at a later age Dr Victoria Lewis

Prevention Reaction Support Dr Victoria Lewis

26 Government Initiatives
Anti-Bullying Interventions Individual Group Organisational Sharp (1999) Government Initiatives SEAL (Social and Emotional aspects of Learning 2007) Don’t Suffer in Silence (2003) Dr Victoria Lewis

27 Pupils Preferred Responses to Bullying Friendships
Avoidance strategies Stand up for themselves Oliver & Candappe (2002) Dr Victoria Lewis

28 Anti-Bullying Interventions with Groups or Individuals
Remedy externalising problems in those who have shown bullying behaviour or on the internalising problems displayed by victims For example, social skills training / assertiveness training / anger management programmes Dr Victoria Lewis

29 Individual Pupil Responses to Bullying
Aggressive – escalates the problem Passive unconstructive – ignores the behaviour but meets the bully’s demands Passive constructive – exiting quickly from a bullying situation and seeking support from peers (may disable a victim) Assertive – a pupil calmly refuses to comply with demands and fails to reinforce bullying behaviour (most successful) Sharp & Cowie (1994) Dr Victoria Lewis

30 Social Skills Training Body language and eye contact
Assertive statements Resisting manipulations and threats Responses to name calling Enlisting support Sharp et al (1994) Dr Victoria Lewis

31 BREAKING THE SILENCE Children may fail to inform teachers they are experiencing bullying (Craig et al 2000). This is especially likely where pupils are older (Naylor et al 2001) Telling teachers / parents was felt to be risky. Many pupils felt it would be easy to talk to a friend (68% Y5; 71% Y8) (Oliver & Candappe (2002) Half of children who admitted to having been bullied in a private and anonymous questionnaire, said they had not told anyone about it, at home or at school (Whitney & Smith 1993) Over a two year period, those who had stopped being victims had talked to someone about it (67%) more often than those who had stayed victims (41%) Smith and others (2004) Dr Victoria Lewis

32 PEER SUPPORT Befriending Circle of Friends Circle Time
Conflict resolution Peer Tutoring Peer Mentoring Peer Counselling Peer Mediation Co-operative Teaching Dr Victoria Lewis

33 Involving students directly in solving bullying problems
Peer Mentoring Involving students directly in solving bullying problems Peer mentors work with children who may be vulnerable (for example, in the dining hall); act as befrienders or contact points Co-operative Teaching Arrangements 16 classes in 2 primary schools Small reduction in reported bullying Naylor & Cowie (1994) Dr Victoria Lewis

No Blame/ Support Group Approach (Young 1998) Method of Shared Concern (Pikas 2002; Rigby 2005) Dr Victoria Lewis

35 No Blame Approach Interview with bullied pupil
Arrange a meeting for all pupils who are involved Explain the problem Share responsibility Identify solutions Let pupils take action themselves Review Maines & Robinson (1992) Dr Victoria Lewis

36 Pikas Method of Shared Concern Stage 1 – meeting with group members
Stage 2 – Meeting with person who has been bullied Stage 3 – Further meetings with group members Stage 4 – Further meetings with all the group members Pikas (1987) Dr Victoria Lewis

Sheffield Anti-Bullying Initiative A whole-school approach 23 schools (16 primaries, 7 secondaries) Led to an increase in the number of pupils saying they hadn't been bullied – most evident in primary schools Smith (1999) Dr Victoria Lewis

38 Olweus (1991) Bullying Prevention Programme
Creating a school, and ideally a home environment characterised by: Warmth, positive interest and involvement from adults Firm limits on unacceptable behaviour Consistent application of non-punitive, non-physical sanctions for unacceptable behaviour Adults who act as authorities and role-models Levels of Intervention: School Classroom Individual Substantial reductions in reported bullying in Norway – typically 30-50% Dr Victoria Lewis

39 Programme Evaluations Some interventions showed decreased bullying
Results were not always consistent Social skills groups reduced bullying in 1 in 4 Mentoring reduced bullying in 1 of 1 case Whole school approaches decreased bullying in 7 of 10 cases Vreeman & Carrol (2007) Dr Victoria Lewis

40 CONCLUSIONS Bullying is highly prevalent in schools
Intervention rates may sometimes be low There may be insufficient acknowledgement of indirect forms of bullying Children and young people may be reluctant to report bullying Schools need to target the role of bystanders in the intervention Parents and carers can help rehearse effective strategies with children Reid et al (2004) Dr Victoria Lewis

41 Dr Victoria Lewis

Involvement in training and project work Research into anti-bullying interventions Apply Psychology to understand the type of bullying and develop systematised interventions based on these understandings Encourage anti-bullying intervention to take place at different levels, involving the whole school community (including parents and carers, pupils themselves and midday supervisors) Dr Victoria Lewis

43 REFERENCES Clarkson, P. (1996). The Bystander. London: Whurr Publishers Cowie, H. & Sharp, S. (1994). Tackling Bullying through the curriculum: Insights and Perspectives. London: Routledge Craig, W; Pepler, D; & Atlas, R. (2000). Observations of bullying in the playground and in the classroom. School Psychology International. 21 (1). Pp 22-36 Crick, N.R. & Nelson, D.A. (2002). Relational and physical victimisation within friendships: Nobody told me there’d be friends like these. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. 30. Pp Frederickson, N. & Cline, T (2002). Special Educational Needs, Inclusion and Diversity: A Textbook. Buckingham: Open University Press. Frederickson, N. Miller, A; & Cline, T. (2008). Educational Psychology: Topics in Applied Psychology. Ch 10 Bullying. London: Hodder Arnold Dr Victoria Lewis

44 Nansel, T.R. (2001). Bullying is Common Study. Site www.abcdnews.go
Hazler, R.J. (1996). Breaking the Cycle of Violence: Interventions for Bullying and Victimisation. Washington DC: Accelerated Development Katz, A; Buchanan, A. & Bream, V. (2001). Bullying in Britain: Testimonies from Teenagers. Surrey: Young Voice Latane & Darley, (1970). The Unresponsive Bystander. Why Doesn’t He Help? New York: Appleton Century Crofts Maines, B. & Robinson, G. (1998). All for Alex. A Circle of Friends. Bristol: Lucky Duck Publishing Nansel, T.R. (2001). Bullying is Common Study. Site Naylor, P. & Cowie, H. (1994). The effectiveness of peer support systems in challenging school bullying: The perspectives and experiences of teachers and pupils. Journal of Adolescence. 22 (4). Pp Dr Victoria Lewis

45 Oliver, C. & Candappe, M. (2002). Tackling bullying: Listening to the Views of Children and Young People. Thomas Coram Research Unit: Institute of Education. Olweus, D. (1991). Bully-Victim Problems Among School Children: Basic Facts and Effects School-Based Intervention Programme. In Pepler, D. & Rubin, K.H. (eds). The Development of Childhood Aggression. Erlbaum: Hillsdale NJ. Pp Orpinas, P. & Horne, A.M. (2006). Creating a Positive School Climate and Developing Social Competence. Washington DC: American psychological Association Dr Victoria Lewis

46 Pikas, A. (2002). New developments of shared concern
Pikas, A. (2002). New developments of shared concern. School Psychology International Reid, P; Monsen, J; & Rivers, I. (2004). Psychology’s contribution to understanding and managing bullying within schools. Educational Psychology in practice. 20 (3). Pp Rigby, K. (2005). Why do some children bully at school? The contribution of negative attitudes towards victims and the perceived expectations of friends, parents and teachers. School Psychology International. 26 (2). Pp Dr Victoria Lewis

47 Rivers, I. & Soutter, A. (1996). Bullying and the Steiner School Ethos
Rivers, I. & Soutter, A. (1996). Bullying and the Steiner School Ethos. A Case study Analysis. 17. Pp Salmivalli, C and others. (1996). Bullying as a group process: Participant roles and their relations to social status within a group. Aggressive Behaviour 22. Pp1-15 Shakeshaft, C., Barber, E., Hergenrother, M., Johnson, Y., Mandel, L. & Sawyer, J. (1995). Peer harassment in schools. Journal For a Just and Caring Education. 1. Pp30–44. Sharp, S. & Smith, P.K (eds). (1994). Tackling Bullying in Your School. A Practical Handbook for Teachers. London: Routledge Smith, P.K. (1999). The Nature of School Bullying: A Cross National Perspective. London: Routledge Smith, P.K., Morita, Y, Junger-Tas, J., Olweus, D., Catalano, R. & Slee, P. (eds.) (1999). The Nature of School Bullying: a Cross-National Perspective. London: Routledge. Dr Victoria Lewis

48 Smith, P.K. & Shu, S. (2000). School Bullying: Insights and Perspectives. London: Routledge
Soutter, A. & McKenzie, A.  (2000). The use and effects of anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies in Australian schools.  School Psychology International. 21(1), Twemlow and others. (2001). Improving the Social and Intellectual Climate in Elementary Schools by Addressing the Bully-Victim-Bystander Power Struggles. In Cohen, J (ed). (2001). Caring Classrooms, Intelligent Schools: The Social Emotional Education of Young Children. New York Teachers. College Press Dr Victoria Lewis

49 Vaillancourt, T. Hymel, S. & McDougall, P. (2003)
Vaillancourt, T. Hymel, S. & McDougall, P. (2003). Bullying is power: Implications for school-based intervention strategies. Special issue: Journal of Applied School Psychology. 19 (2). Pp Vreeman, R.C. & Carrol, A.E. (2007) . A systematic review of school-based interventions to prevent bullying. Pediatric Adolescence Med.161. Pp78-88. Whitney, I. & Smith, P.K. (1993). A survey of the nature and extent of school bullying in junior/middle and secondary schools. Educational Research. 35. Pp3-25. Young, S. (1998). The support group approach to bullying in schools. Educational Psychology in Practice. 14. Pp32-39 Dr Victoria Lewis

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