Healthy People 2020 Spotlight: Bullying (Part 5 of 11)


DR. DOROTHY ESPELAGE: What we find here is
that bullying perpetration, homophobic name calling is prevalent to start with, and then
youth who bully resort to homophobic name calling over the middle school years. And
we’ve actually found a real causal link between those kids that engage in bullying
and those that engage in homophobic kind of bantering. And then we also find that there
are strong longitudinal associations between bullying, homophobic bantering, and sexual
harassment perpetration. So it’s very clear that as you’re implementing bullying prevention
programs at the ground, there must be a consideration about this homophobic language that seems
to be a precursor to sexual harassment perpetration. And those are kind of your take home, take
way messages on there. In addition to that, next slide, we don’t
have time to talk about this but research is starting to show that that relationship
between bullying and sexual harassment perpetration in the middle school years is actually moderated
or moderated by traditional masculinity, and I’ll say it this way, students who bully
others are more likely to also sexually harass. But this longitudinal association is strongest
for those boys and girls that adopt traditional masculine ideology. Put another way, if boys
and girls think that boys should be stoic, not express emotion then they’re bullying
of others will lead to an increase in sexually harassing behavior, because the best way to
demonstrate that perhaps you’re not straight identified and heterosexual in response to
homophobic bantering that may be in that middle school climate may be to publicly sexually
harass another student. So we need to think about traditional masculinity.
It’s encouraging because it’s something that we can, it’s a point of intervention
in our schools, that we can talk to kids about the gender box and traditional masculinity
and its role. Now we’re going to shift a little bit and
talk to you about what is working. Where do we need to go from here? Have we done a good
job? Well, in the first meta-analysis in 2008 evaluated the effectiveness of 16 bullying
efficacy studies across six countries. Six studies in the U.S. And fortunately, only
two of those six U.S. studies were published. And the results are very, very clear. There
was small, to negligible effects in these programs. If we were to you know, be more
optimistic about whether or not there would be long term effects and we would you know,
use a different error rate and look towards the future, there were small positive effects
found for enhancing social competence and peer acceptance, and then increasing teacher
knowledge and efficacy. So we have to keep this in mind, if in fact
those programs are frameworks, are going to be implemented by teachers. It appears that
if we increase our knowledge and efficacy we might see a movement. But the reality is
this study found that we’re having no impact on decreasing bullying behaviors. If we draw
to a larger, the Campbell collaboration where they are looking at a number of programs across
multiple countries, again the U.S. doesn’t fair very well in that particular report.
But they also found that programs that are effective in European countries include parents,
use of multimedia, and then again more evidence that targeting those teacher’s competence
in responding to bullying led to significant reductions in bullying in those European countries
in those studies. I’m going to speak more to that study in just a few minutes. Next
slide. So where do we go from here if in fact we’re
having limited success, although I’m going to talk to you a little bit later about some
promising social emotional learning approaches to bullying prevention. What we need to recognize
that bullying co-occurs with other types of aggression and other risky behavior, like
delinquency and alcohol and drug use. So maybe there’s over, we know there’s overlapping
risk and protective factors that need to be targeted in school-based programs, in order
to address the spectrum of problem behavior. We need to really consider interventions that
would target all of these in protective factors and help us with multiple outcomes, especially
given the constraints on schools to do this type of programming. We also have to recognize
the research that strongly shows that programs should address the peer and social norms going
back to the meta-analysis that shows that actually bullying behavior could be associated
with popularity or high social status. Next slide. In addition to this we need to recognize that
our schools are changing tremendously and they’re not only changing but they’re
just different across the geography of the United States. And we have to evaluate the
extent to which these programs and frameworks are effective and whether or not demographics
affect the efficacy. For example, in one of the studies of the well-known OBPProgram,
reductions in victimization were found only for White students and not for the large sample
of Asian or Black students. And we need to be sensitive to demographic impacts. We also need to consider how classroom management
skills and implementation levels impact a program’s effectiveness. If in fact we’re
going to put these programs in the hands of teachers and they have compromised classroom
management skills, this might impact their efficacy. I think we’ve come a long way
in raising the public awareness of Healthy People but I also still have comments from
schools, administrators and parents about whether or not they’re really seriously
motivated to have a serious conversation about bullying prevention. But overall what we need to recognize is that
research evidence must inform the next generation, so some of the research that I’ve presented
here, this must inform the modification and enhancements to the programs that are out
there on those lists that schools are selecting. We also have to pay much more attention to
implementation and sustainability and we must infuse innovation into our basic applied scholarship
as we move forward in bullying prevention. Next slide. One example is there’s quite a bit of discussion
around bystander empowerment. And so we wanted to conduct a meta-analysis to show, okay,
are these bystander intervention programs that directly target those kids intervening
to help a victim, do they work? And very optimistically we found that they do. In this meta-analysis
we were able to find 12 school based interventions that directly targeted interventions among
about 13,000 kids. And it revealed that overall the programs were successful, .21. That’s
really good. We’re happy usually with .13, so this is good. With larger effects for high school samples,
you see the effect size is .44, meaning that in high school there might be more consideration
of intervening and taking that risk versus in K-8, which was the typical effect size
of .13. But the bottom line, this meta-analysis indicated that programs were effective at
changing bystander behavior both at a practical and a statistical significant level. I would
add there that also in that paper, we found that the shorter duration of one to two months
actually is more effective than long term extended interventions. But again, that’s
the first meta-analysis to look at bystander intervention. If we take all of this kind of research together
about what we’re doing and what’s starting to work, we also need to think about when
there’s that large meta-analysis out of the Campbell collaboration made it very, very
clear that the reductions are associated with parent training, increased playground supervision,
non-punitive disciplinary methods, meaning do not use suspension. Those programs that
worked had a component of home school communication; they focused on classroom rules, classroom
management. But they also embedded this material within the curriculum, so it wouldn’t just
be this add on, but in fact it was integrated. And many of these approaches were social-emotional,
focused on social-emotional learning. So in the time that we have remaining, I want
to talk to you a little bit about some of these promising social-emotional learning
approaches. We do know from research that schools that have social-emotional learning
programs in place, whatever that might look like, there is an 11 percent increase in academic
functioning. We know there’s a decrease in disruptive behavior. Well, what is social-emotional learning, which
is an umbrella term that came out of a 1994 conference? It really is, the goal is to develop
self-awareness and self-management skills in children to achieve school and life success
by being able to identify and manage their own emotions and behaviors, recognize personal
qualities and who they have in their social support system, and demonstrate skills related
to achieving personal and academic goals. The next goal of social-emotional learning
is to take that, use that social awareness and interpersonal skills to establish and
maintain positive relationships. So we in social-emotional learning programs, we encourage
the recognition of feelings and perspectives of others, recognizing individual and group
similarities and differences, using the communication and social skills that are taught repetitively
within these programs to interact effectively with others and trouble shoot conflictional
situations. And then demonstrate an ability to prevent, manage and resolve interpersonal
conflicts in constructive ways. Goal three is to demonstrate decision-making
skills and responsible behaviors in personal, school and community contexts. So we want
to teach ethics and safety and making good decision making to ultimately contribute to
a well-being of one school and community. So really social-emotional learning framework,
next slide, is based on the risk and protective factors that we’ve discussed, bullying research,
also understanding brain research and the development of the adolescent brain, taking
a positive approach to problem behavior, instead of just saying stop bullying or intervene,
actually encouraging positive approach to this. And then taking a developmental need
lends to understanding social-emotional learning programs.