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BULLYING : Psychopathology Human Nature or Part of Growing Up? The Prevention of Bullying: Building an Alberta Research Agenda March 23-23, 2006 Calgary,

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Presentation on theme: "BULLYING : Psychopathology Human Nature or Part of Growing Up? The Prevention of Bullying: Building an Alberta Research Agenda March 23-23, 2006 Calgary,"— Presentation transcript:


2 BULLYING : Psychopathology Human Nature or Part of Growing Up? The Prevention of Bullying: Building an Alberta Research Agenda March 23-23, 2006 Calgary, AB Shelley Hymel University of British Columbia

3 KASSERIAN INGERA How are our children? 1 in 5 youth display significant mental health problems that warrant social services 11.4% of Canadian youth drop out of school early 7% of BC students in grades 7-12 reported attempting suicide at least oncein the past 12 months; about 10% of girls and 17% of boys considered suicide. (McCreary AHS, 1998) 8-10% of students report that they are bullied and harassed by peers on a regular (daily/weekly) basis Disliked and socially rejected children are at particular risk for later mental health problems, criminality and early school withdrawal 6-12% of students report that they do not feel safe at school

4 Norway early 1980’s Japan early 1990’s North America late 1990’s

5 Jason Lang, aged 17 shot and killed at W.R. Myers High School Taber, Alberta April 20, 1999

6 Recent Surveys of Secondary Students Only 62 – 75% of students across different high schools agree that bullying behaviors are actually criminal offenses.

7 Emmett Fralick Age 14 Grade 9 St. Agnes School Halifax Nova Scotia Took his own life 8April 2002

8 Travis Sleeva Age 16 Grade 11 Canora, Saskatchewan Shot himself in 2004 in response to peer bullying

9 “ A person is being bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons.” Olweus, 1991 Three critical components: Intentionality Repetition Power Differential

10 Bullying is about power….. (Vaillancourt, Hymel & McDougall, 2003) Power comes in many forms… Physical (larger, older) Numbers (mobbing, scapegoating) Social (more popular, more competent) Over time, the power imbalance between the bully and victim becomes more established Children who are victimized are powerless to stop the bullying on their own

11 Involvement in Bully-Victim Incidents

12 Incidence Rates Sample of nearly 500 students, grades 8-10 How often have you been bullied in school [this year]? o 31% report that they have NOT been bullied o 56% report being bullied a “few times” or “once in a while” o 12% report being bullied once a week or many times a week How often have you taken part in bullying others? o 33% report that they have NOT bullied others o 54% report bullying others a “few times” or “once in a while” o 13% report bullying others once a week or many times a week How often have you watched others being bullied at school? o only 5% report that they have not seen others bullied o 52% report that they see others bullied a “few times” or “once in a while” o 42% report that they see other bullied once a week or many times a week

13 How often have you been bullied in school this term? USA CANADA

14 How often have you taken part in bullying other students? CANADA USA

15 Bullying takes many forms… Physical Bullying pushing, spitting, shoving, hitting, kicking, threatening with a weapon, defacing property, stealing Verbal Bullying mocking, teasing, name-calling, dirty looks, intimidating phone calls, racist,sexist, homophobic taunts, verbal threats, coercion, extortion Social Bullying gossiping, setting up for embarrassment, spreading rumors, exclusion from group, inciting hatred, racist, sexist, homophobic alienation setting other up to take the blame, public humiliation Cyber Bullying using internet, email or text messages to threaten, hurt, single out, embarrass, spread rumors or reveal secrets about others

16 Frequent Victims (once a month or more)

17 Long Term Consequences Bullying externalizing problems antisocial problem behaviour mental health problems dating aggression sexual harassment arrests for child/spousal abuse depression anxiety suicide delinquency and criminality moral disengagement Victimization academic difficulties school truancy/avoidance increased absenteeism somatic complaints (e.g., headaches, stomachaches) stress-related illness, physical health problems low self-esteem depression social withdrawal/isolation social anxiety, loneliness suicide aggressive behaviour

18 WHY? Three possibilities PsychopathologyPsychopathology Part of growing upPart of growing up Human natureHuman nature

19 Why? Psychopathology?

20 CHARACTERISTICS OF BULLIES AND VICTIMS Bullies  externalizing problems & hyperactivity (e.g., Khatri et al., 2000; Kumpulainen et al. 1999)  antisocial & physically aggressive behavior (e.g., Craig, 1998)  empathy (e.g., Espelage & Mebane in press; Funke 2003; Roberts & Morotti, 2000; Olweus 1993, 1997)  anxiety (e.g., Craig, 1998; Olweus, 1993) Victims  depression & anxiety (e.g., Boivin et al., 2001; Craig, 1998; Olweus, 1993,1997; Sourander et al., 2000)

21 Personality and neuropsychological correlates of bullying behavior (Coolidge, DenBoer & Segal, 2004) Bullies > Controls Axis 1 Syndromes: Conduct Disorder Oppositional Defiant Disorder ADHD Depressive Disorder Axis II Personality Disorders Passive-Aggressive Disorder % of bully group with “clinically elevated scores” 46% 49% 51% 49%

22 Prevalence of Mental Disorders in Children and Youth (Waddell & Shepherd, 2002) Children (age 4-17) diagnosed with specific mental health disorders Estimated # in AB (given est. 590,000 K-12 students) Anxiety 6.4%37,776 Conduct Disorders 4.2%24,789 ADHD4.8%28,320 Depression3.5%20,650 Substance Abuse 0.8% 4,720 PDD0.3% 1,770 OCD0.2% 1,180 Tourettes0.1% 590 Eating Disorders0.1% 590 Schizophrenia0.1% 590 Bipolar<0.1% <590 Total diagnosed (any disorder) 14.3% or 811,5000 children across Canada

23 Why? Part of Growing Up?

24 The Priority of Human Relationships Belonging is a basic human need We have a fundamental, biologically-based human drive to form emotional bonds and attachments with others (attachment theory)

25 Two Social Worlds of Childhood (Hartup, Piaget) ADULT (PARENT)  CHILD CHILD  CHILD

26 Cultural Trends Promoting Attachment to Peers rather than Adults (Neufeld & Maté, 2004) loss of extended families dual parent work/careers increased work week (less family time) increased divorce rates (reconstituted families, competing attachments) secularization of society early child proximity to peers (daycare) daycares poorly funded (not enough adults) increasing age-segregation larger schools, larger classes (primary peer affiliation) electronic transmission of culture

27 Domains of Social Development Social Participation Perspective-taking Friendship conceptions Empathy Prosocial Reasoning Brain Development Identity Development Moral Development

28 Causes and Contributing Factors Child Characteristics Family Characteristics School Policies & Practices Media (TV & Video Games) Peer Group Contributions Societal and Cultural Norms SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

29 Why? Human Nature?

30 Group Socialization Theory (Harris, 1995, 1998) BETWEEN GROUPS WITHIN GROUPS group contrast effects group differences widen ingroup favoritism/ outgroup discrimination ASSIMILATION self- categorization adopt group norms increased similarity DIFFERENTIATION social comparisons status hierarchies dominance, power

31 Olweus’ Bullying Circle Victimized Child Child Bullying Followers Supporters Passive supporters Disengaged onlookers Possible defenders Defenders A B C D E F G

32 Bullying in school is a group phenomenon in which most children have a definable participant role (Salmivalli et al., 1996, 1997)

33 Craig & Pepler: The role of peers in bullying Peers… are present as observers in 85% of bullying episodes intervened on behalf of victim only 11% of the time spent 53% of the time passively watching spent 22% of the time helping the bully shift the affect of the bullying child when they support bullying and/or join in, creating more excitement more happiness more aggression

34 Peer solutions Although peers were witnesses in 85% of bullying incidents: they only spent 25% of their time helping the victim. they only intervened in 19% of bullying episodes. most peer interventions (57%) were effective in stopping bullying within 10 seconds. peers intervened prosocially (53%) or aggressively (47%) Aggressive to bullying child Prosocial to victimized child intervention was more likely from same-sex peers.

35 Student Attitudes and Beliefs Range Across Secondary Schools Bullies are losers.78% yes Bullies have power.49-66% yes You get what you want from kids if you are a bully. 29-49% yes Some of the coolest kids in school are bullies. 33-60% yes Bullies are popular. 35-61% yes

36 Student Attitudes and Beliefs Beliefs about Victims Empathy for Victims It bothers me that other kids get picked on by bullies. 70-81% yes It bothers me when someone is left out because of bullies.67-82% yes Perceptions of Victims Some kids get bullied because they deserve it. 40-71% yes Most students who get bullied bring it on themselves.37-58% yes If certain kids didn’t whine or given in so easily, they wouldn’t get bullied so much. 58-72% yes Victims should fight back. 66-70% yes If you refuse to fight, other kids will think you’re a loser.55-63% yes

37 Student Attitudes and Beliefs Justifying Bullying Sometimes it’s okay to bully other people. 16-31% yes Bullying gets grudges out in the open.65-72% yes Getting bullied helps make people tougher. 29-44% yes Some kids need to be picked on just to teach them a lesson.36-51% yes Bullying gets kids to understand what is important to the group. 20-34% yes Bullying can be a good way to solve problems.10-21% yes

38 Moral Disengagement (Bandura,1999; 2001; Bandura, Caprara, Barbaranelli, Pastorelli, & Regalia, 2001) Four major categories: 1) Cognitive restructuring 2) Minimizing one’s agentive role 3) Disregarding or distorting negative impact 4) Blaming and dehumanizing the victim

39 Attitudes that Predict Bullying Sometimes it’s okay to bully other people. In my group of friends, bullying is okay. Kids get bullied because they are different. Some kids get bullied because they deserve it. Some kids get bullied because they hurt other kids.

40 “Disengagement practices will not instantly transform considerate persons into cruel ones. Rather, the change is achieved by progressive disengagement of self-censure Initially, individuals perform mildly harmful acts they can tolerate with some discomfort. After their self- reproof has been diminished through repeated enactments, the level of ruthlessness increases, until eventually acts originally regarded as abhorrent can be performed with little anguish or self-censure. Inhumane practices become thoughtlessly routinized. The continuing interplay between moral thought, affect, action, and its social reception is personally transformative. People may not even recognize the changes they have undergone as a moral self.” Albert Bandura, 2001

41 BYSTANDER HELPLESSNESS It’s okay to report bullying to school authorities. 70-82% yes It is my responsibility to do something when I see bullying.45-72% yes If you tell on a bully, people will think you are a “tattle tale” or loser. 58-86% yes Kids who tell on bullies are often the next victims. 76-87% yes Across schools…. 20-36% agree that it is “better not to get involved.” 26-38% believe that there is “nothing I can do to stop it”. 28-33% admit that they are “too frightened to intervene.” 51-67% agree that they are “just glad it’s not me”.

42 Why do people bully? Child psychopathology The gradual social development of our children The nature of human beings

43 Implications Bullying is a social problem that requires an understanding of human relationships in order to adequately address it. We need to purposefully promote positive social development in our youth. All children involved in bullying incidents -- perpetrators, victims and bystanders - must be included and considered in bullying interventions. We need to intervene at multiple levels if we are to effect real changes in bullying in our society.

44 Levels of Intervention Targeted or individualized intervention Universal or school-based intervention Every individual has the right to be spared from oppression and repeated, intentional humiliation. It is a fundamental democratic right to not be victimized in school.Dan Olweus, 1991 Societal level intervention

45 Bullying as a teaching moment rather than a discipline problem (Rocke-Henderson, 2002) Something is better than nothing Nonintervention is typically interpreted as acceptance and tolerance Three targets of intervention BULLIESChildren who bully require formative consequences: VICTIMS Children who are victimized require safety and support to develop positive connections with peers. WITNESSES All children involved in bullying incidents -- perpetrators, victimized youth, and bystanders -- must be included in bullying interventions. School-Based Initiatives: Intervening in the Bullying Processes

46 Evidence-Based Practice

47 A Recent Review of Bullying Prevention The majority of programs were successful at reducing bullying and victimization at school. Of the 46 studies: 26 (56%) reported only positive reductions in bullying/victimization; 7 (15%) reported only negative results; 6 (13%) reported mixed results (some positive,some negative effects); 3 (7%) reported no change; 4 (9%) programs are ongoing and there are no results to date.

48 The Norway Project (Olweus) School Level better recess supervision contact telephone meeting of school staff & parents teacher groups to develop “school climate” parent circles / discussion groups Classroom Level regular class meetings cooperative learning meetings among teachers, parents & students common positive activities role playing and literature about bullying explicit class rules against bullying Individual Level serious talks with both bullies and victims help from “neutral” students advice to parents ( brochure ) change of class or school if necessary “discussion” groups with parents of bullies & victims

49 Percent reduction following the intervention Percentage change due to Program LocationDate -10 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Finland (Kempele)1992 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Norway (Bergen)1985 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Finland (Helsinki)2000 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Norway (Oslo)1999 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Norway (Bergen 2)1997 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Ireland (Donnegal)2000 xxxxxxxxxxxxx Norway (S Norway)1994 xxxxxxxxxx England (Sheffield)1994 xxxxxxxxxxx Switzerland(Geneva)1994 xxxxxxxxx Australia (W.A)2001 xxxxxx Germany (Holstein)1996 xxx Belgium (Flanders)2001 x Canada (Toronto)1994 x USA (S Carolina)1997 x Norway (Rogaland)1986 xxxxxx

50 Reported variations in outcomes between schools for the Schleswig Holstein Program

51 Different interventions can yield similar results (Rigby, 2005) Oslo study Olweus program emphasizing discipline, rules, consequences, and sanctions Turku study Salmivalli et al. program emphasizing problem-solving methods (e.g., Pikas Method of Shared Concern) Both report 42% reduction in victimization

52 Essential Elements of a Successful Social Program theory driven developmentally based consider protective as well as risk factors (resilience based) systemic individual as well as universal ongoing evaluation (including process as well as outcome)

53 People support best that which they help to create Blanchard and Bowles “Gung Ho”

54 Evidence-Based Practice  Selecting Interventions that have been proven effective But … proven effectiveness elsewhere is no guarantee of success (e.g., Smith, Schneider, Smith & Anadiadou, 2004) And… don’t discourage efforts to develop new approaches Accountability: Evaluating whether or not your intervention works

55 CANDADIAN INITIATIVES Saskatchewan: Diane Gossen’s Restitution Self Discipline Ontario: Mary Gordon’s Roots of Empathy Quebec: Mrs. Twinkle Rudberg’s Leave Out ViolencE (L.O.V.E.) British Columbia: Anita Robert’s Safeteen Ishu Ishiyama’s Anti-Discrimination Response Training (A.R.T.) Bonnie Leadbeater’s W.I.T.S. program


57 Levels of Intervention Targeted or individualized intervention Universal or school-based intervention Every individual has the right to be spared from oppression and repeated, intentional humiliation. It is a fundamental democratic right to not be victimized in school.Dan Olweus, 1991 Societal level intervention


59 Canadian Initiative for the Prevention of Bullying The CIPB’s mission is to develop a national strategy to reduce bullying and victimization among Canadian youth by – Providing education and information on bullying and victimization; – Creating assessment and evaluation tools; – Disseminating information on effective intervention strategies – Promote policy development to ensure sustained attention to problems of bullying

60 All that is needed for evil to prosper is for people of good will to do nothing. -Edmund Burke

61 In conclusion, there is no conclusion to what children who are bullied live with. They take it home with them at night. It lives inside them and eats away at them. It never ends. So neither should our struggle to end it. Sarah, age 17

62 Shelley Hymel Faculty of Education University of British Columbia 2125 Main Mall Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4

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