Psychology's Contribution to Understanding and Managing Bullying within Schools

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1 Educational Psychology in Practice, Vol. 20, No. 3, September 2004 Psychology's Contribution to Understanding and Managing Bullying within Schools Philippa Reid a *, Jeremy Monsen b and Ian Rivers c a Surrey County Council Educational Psychology Service, UK; b University College London and Kent Educational Psychology Service, UK; c York St John College, UK (Received March 2002; accepted after revision, December 2003) This paper investigates the extent to which psychological theory and research has contributed to how bullying is managed within schools. Teachers' awareness of the behaviours that constitute bullying, gender differences leading to identi cation dif culties, and low levels of reporting are discussed as plausible reasons for teachers' low intervention rates. Pupils' attitudes towards and responses to bullying are examined within the contexts of self-ef cacy, self-acceptance and level of problem-solving skill. Subsequent anti-bullying interventions focusing on these aspects are explored and the importance of a whole-school approach emphasised. De ning Bullying Bullying has been de ned as the ``systematic abuse of power'', which ``repeatedly and deliberately'' (Smith & Sharp, 1994, p. 2) harms others (Hazler, 1996). Bullying may be perpetrated either individually or in groups (Hazler, 1996) and involves a negative interaction in which a dominant individual (``a bully'') repeatedly exhibits behaviour intended to cause distress to a less dominant individual (``a victim'') (Olweus, 1991). A ``bully'' enjoys more physical or psychological power than the ``victim'', applying this to devalue another to make himself/herself appear superior, although this mismatch of strength may be a matter of perception (Hazler, 1996). Despite the element of power being fundamental in bullying, most children are not bullied by older pupils, but by members of their class or year group (Besag, 1989; Olweus, 1973, 1993b; Prewitt, 1988; Rigby, Slee, & Connolly, 1991; Rivers, 2001; Roland & Munthe, 1989). *Corresponding author: Surrey County Council Educational Psychology Service, Local Education Of ce North West, Alexander House, 54a±61a Commercial Way, Woking, Surrey GU21 6HN, UK. ISSN 0266±7363 (print)/issn 1469±5839 (online)/04/ ã 2004 Association of Educational Psychologists DOI: /

2 242 P. Reid et al. In legal terms: Heald (1994) perceived bullying as long standing violence, which could be physical or psychological. Such violence could be perpetuated by either an individual or a group against an individual not able to protect themselves. The key element being an implicit desire to threaten, frighten or intimidate the individual. Bullying is not limited to physical aggression and can include hurting others' feelings and undermining their con dence and self-esteem through words, actions or social exclusion (Hazler, 1996; Roffey, 2000). Bullying via ``direct-and physical'' means include behaviours such as hitting, tripping up and taking belongings, whereas ``direct and verbal'' bullying involves name-calling and taunting. Indirect forms of bullying are characterised by passing nasty stories or rumours behind others' backs, or excluding someone from social groups (Smith & Sharp, 1994). Indirect bullying can be as subtle as frightening someone with a particular or constant stare (Rivers, 2001a). However, an odd ght or quarrel between children of approximately equal strength is not classi ed as bullying (Smith & Sharp, 1994). As such, intention and context are important determinates in de ning a bullying episode. Because of this subjective element problems can arise for both adults (teachers and parents/carers) and pupils in interpreting what is and is not ``bullying''. The Prevalence of Bullying Behaviour Research has shown that, across the world, children are abusing other children frequently (Baldry & Farrington, 1999; Berthold & Hoover, 2000; Carney, 2000; Hoover, Oliver, & Hazler, 1992; Kalliotis, 2000; Olweus, 1995; Perry, Kusel, & Perry, 1988), suggesting that bullying is a normative behaviour in schools, and one that is not always challenged appropriately (Olweus, 1987; Pepler, Craig, Ziegler, & Charach, 1994; Perry et al., 1988; Rigby, 1996). Whitney and Smith's (1993) sample of over 6000 pupils, in 24 schools in Shef eld, indicated that on average 27% of primary school pupils and 10% of secondary school pupils reported being bullied during the term the survey was conducted. Sharp (1996) found in a sample of 377 secondary school children that 18% had been bullied in their current school year, and one-half of those had experienced bullying throughout their school careers, with 36.5% admitting to having bullied someone else. Sharp, Thompson, and Arora (2000) surveyed children using a questionnaire based on work by Olweus (1994) and found that 49% of the students reported that they had been bullied in the year preceding the survey. More recently, research focusing upon the development of new technologies and their implications for bullying behaviour have suggested that as many as 6% of students report receiving threatening and text messages when they are at school (Rivers, 2003). These gures were con rmed by a National Children's Homes' (2002) study (, which suggested that mobile phones are the most commonly used medium for bullying with 16% of students reporting that they had

3 Understanding and Managing Bullying within Schools 243 received bullying or threatening text messages. Seven per cent said they had been harassed in Internet chat-rooms and a further 4% via . Rate of Intervention In a study by Pepler et al. (1994), 85% of teachers reported that they intervene ``nearly always'' or ``often'' to stop bullying. In contrast, only 35% of students reported that teachers intervened when bullying occurred. Similarly, Olweus's (1984) questionnaire study revealed that 40% of primary school students and 60% of junior high school students reported that teachers try and stop bullying only ``once in a while'' or ``never''. Craig and Pepler's (1997) observational study found that adult supervisors intervene in about 4% of the playground bullying con icts they observed. The discrepancy between pupils' and teachers' reports of the frequency of intervention implies teachers may not be aware of the extent of bullying behaviour in their schools or that students may lack con dence in their teachers' skills to intervene effectively, so fail to report bullying (Craig, Henderson, & Murphy, 2000a). Kalliotis (1994) reports teachers to be generally aware of the bullies but found that they tend to underestimate the extent of the problem. Results of bullying surveys in Shef eld showed that rates of bullying tend to exceed teachers' expectations (Sharp & Thompson, 1994). Teachers' De nitions of Bullying Teachers' tendencies to under-estimate the frequency and magnitude of bullying may be manifested by an insuf cient knowledge of the wide variety of bullying behaviours that go on in schools. Although teachers recognise that bullying can be both physical and emotional in nature (Siann, Callaghan, Lockhart, & Rawson, 1993), with the majority believing that physical assaults, verbal threats and coercion may be classi ed as bullying. Boulton (1997) found that 25% of teachers did not de ne name calling, spreading rumours or intimidation by staring or taking others' belongings as bullying. In addition, a signi cant proportion failed to consider social exclusion as bullying per se (Boulton, 1997). Sharp et al. (2000) found name-calling to be a particularly persistent form of bullying, tending to be long term and systematic, and social exclusion to be more prevalent in nature but occurring on a more short-term basis. Craig et al. (2000a) suggest that physical and verbal aggression are more likely to elicit the label of bullying than social exclusion, since they are more easily identi ed. Teachers are less likely to observe acts of social exclusion, since the behaviours are often brief and covert, and do not often elicit observable reactions from the victim (Craig & Pepler, 1997). Craig et al. (2000a) found that prospective teachers labelled physical aggression as bullying more often, viewing it as more serious and considering it more worthy of intervention than verbal aggression. The evidence would suggest that verbal and indirect bullying occur much more often (Rivers & Soutter, 1996), with nearly twice as many bullying episodes involving verbal aggression when compared with physical aggression (Atlas & Pepler, 1998; Craig & Pepler, 1997). There is some evidence to suggest that verbal aggression may have more negative

4 244 P. Reid et al. long-term effects (Hoover et al., 1992; Mooney, Creeser, & Blatchford, 1991; Olweus, 1991; Rivers & Soutter, 1996; Rivers, 2001, 2003; Tattum & Herbert, 1990; Thorne, 1993). Teachers need to be clearer about the types of indirect bullying occurring in their schools, such as social isolation, spreading rumours or giving frightening stares (Rivers & Soutter, 1996). In this way teachers will know precisely what to look for, since indirect bullying is subtle and subjective, thus dif cult to detect but potentially just as devastating to some children and young people as more covert forms (Rivers & Smith, 1994). Similarly, teachers need to be aware that long-term indirect bullying may be directly linked to both absenteeism and poor school performance, and that those students with a history of absenteeism or exhibiting a general decline in the standard of class and homework may be the ``victims'' of a more insidious form of bullying that they nd dif cult to articulate (Rivers, 2001). Without an understanding of the myriad of behaviours that constitute bullying, teachers will fail to intervene effectively and strategically (Craig et al., 2000a). In fact, Kikkawa (1987) found that teachers frequently observe behaviours that they believe to be bullying but are not certain enough to take action against it. This implies teachers require education focusing on the diversity of bullying behaviours to improve their skills at recognising and detecting bullying, which may subsequently enhance their con dence to intervene (Craig et al., 2000a). Gender Differences The different forms of bullying behaviours have important implications in regards to research showing that females are less likely to be involved in bullying. Arora and Thompson (1987), Smith (1994) and Kalliotis (2000) found girls to consistently report being less bullied than boys, and felt less threatened by school bullying. Schwartz (1993) found that children nominated fewer female than male peers to be victims of bullying. Arora (1991) revealed that teachers nominated more boys for inclusion in a social support group for victims of bullying than girls. However, this recognition that bullying is less prevalent among females is contrary to the research ndings by Whitney and Smith (1993) as children's self-reports in general surveys showed no signi cant differences between the frequency of boys and girls being bullied. Research shows that females tend to channel their aggression socially, using indirect, subtle methods such as slander, spreading rumours, social exclusion and manipulation of friendship relations, whereas boys prefer to express their aggression via more physical means (Ahmed & Smith, 1994; Batsche & Knoff, 1994; Berthold & Hoover, 2000; Bjorkqvist, Lagerspetz, & Kaukainen, 1992; Carney & Merrell, 2001; Craig & Pepler, 1997; Olweus, 1997). In fact, male bullies are three to four times more likely to in ict physical assaults than girls (National School Safety Center, 1995). Ahmed, Whitney, and Smith (1991) found this trend to extend to the male and female victims of bullying, with females more likely than boys to experience verbal and indirect forms of bullying and boys more likely to experience physical forms of bullying.

5 Understanding and Managing Bullying within Schools 245 Indirect forms of bullying may be used more bene cially by females since they tend to prefer a more limited number, of more intimate friends, than males (Bjorkqvist et al., 1992; Rivers & Smith, 1994). Direct bullying, especially that of a physical aggressive nature, is easier to detect than indirect methods and more likely to elicit the label of bullying (Craig et al., 2000a). This implies that it is possible that female bullying has been underestimated in the past (Smith & Sharp, 1994). Indeed, Craig and Pepler (1997) claim that despite females' typical display of social aggression, they are not typically regarded as bullies. In addition to teachers, children have been found not to consider name-calling and spreading rumours to be bullying (Boulton & Flemington, 1996). An inconsistency in de nitions of bullying behaviours may help to explain the discrepancy between research ndings regarding females' self-reports of the levels of bullying. Cowie and Sharp (1994) found the use of anti-bullying videos, such as Sticks and Stones (Central Television, 1990) and the drama Only Playing, Miss (Casdagli & Gobey, 1990), to be bene cial in enhancing children's awareness of the variety of bullying behaviours, as well as displaying lists in classrooms classifying the different types of bullying (Soutter & McKenzie, 2000). Rivers and Soutter (1996) emphasise that perceived low levels of female bullying does not necessarily indicate that girls are less aggressive, but suggests that teachers should be looking for different, less overt and obvious signs of bullying behaviour. Craig et al. (2000a) thus recommend that educational interventions targeting teachers should not only include information regarding the range of aggressive behaviours, but also the gender differences in the types of aggressive behaviours employed. Accordingly, Whitney and Smith (1993) advise that schools examine their identi cation process carefully. Carney and Merrell's (2001) review of anti-bullying interventions implemented in schools showed a subsequent decrease in male bullies and victims but the opposite effect for females. This supports the view that there is a need to discriminate between various forms of bullying practised by males and females so they can be seen as being qualitatively different, to enable appropriate interventions to be devised and applied (Carney & Merrell, 2001). Rates of Reporting Children's willingness to report bullying may provide another explanation for teachers' low rates of awareness, in comparison with children's self-reports. Children may fail to inform teachers that they are experiencing bullying (Craig et al., 2000a). According to survey results from the Shef eld Anti-Bullying Project, one-half of all pupils who admitted to having been bullied in a private anonymous questionnaire said that they had not told anyone about it, either at home or at school (Whitney & Smith, 1993). Ahmed et al. (1991) found that middle school and junior school pupils were more likely to tell someone at home than their teachers, and were more likely to tell someone than secondary school pupils. Children being bullied frequently were more inclined to inform someone, although this was only about one-half of the secondary school children who were frequently bullied (Ahmed et al., 1991). Rigby and Slee

6 246 P. Reid et al. (1993), similarly, found that in Australian schools only 33% of pupils who were persistently bullied would tell an adult. Thompson and Arora (1991) found English pupils to be particularly reluctant to tell someone about being bullied as only 3% of all children mentioned bullying incidents to their parents/carers, whereas one out of three children in a Greek study communicated bullying incidents to their parents without fear. Victims may be too frightened to, or lack the con dence to tell, blame themselves (Smith & Sharp, 1994) or feel that telling adults will only make matters worse (Rigby, 1997). In terms of bullying by text massage or , National Children's Homes' results suggest that as many as 29% of victims tell no one. If bullying in schools is to decrease, it is imperative that children have the con dence to tell teachers, supervisors and parents/carers about bullying behaviours they witness or experience. The Elton Report (Department of Education and Science, 1989) recommended that schools encourage children to report bullying cases. The rates of telling will not increase unless pupils believe that they will be supported. If a school appears to indirectly condone bullying behaviour by ignoring it, intervening infrequently or inconsistently or ``heavy-handedly'' (i.e., inquisitions) or having very few sanctioning and support systems, bullying will continue and reporting will seem futile. Children in such environments learn that aggressive behaviour is appropriate and acceptable (Huesmann & Eron, 1984), since there is a minimal risk in harassing their peers (Craig, Pepler, & Atlas, 2000b). An atmosphere should be created in which staff consistently encourage pro-social values and implement clear sanctions against bullying behaviour (Cowie & Olafsson, 2000). A policy should include a shared understanding of bullying, an agreement on a sequenced and consistent approach to teaching about bullying and a common approach to dealing with incidents (Soutter & McKenzie, 2000). A whole-school approach is essential, where everyone takes responsibility for implementing the policy and shares the same or similar values and priorities (Roffey, 2000). In essence pupils, school staff and parents/carers need to know what the guidelines (or ``rules'') are and who is ``incharge'', and these guidelines will be implemented consistently and fairly. Whole-school Approaches Research looking at whole-school anti-bullying intervention programmes has largely focused on raising the awareness of pupils, teachers, parents/carers and supervisors by providing support and training for ``victims'', by working with ``bullies'' and by improving the school environment. Outcomes indicate that pupils become much more likely to tell someone if they had been bullied (Carney & Merrell, 2001; Soutter & McKenzie, 2000; Whitney, Rivers, Smith, & Sharp, 1994). Sharp and Thompson (1994) reported that 38% more secondary school pupils would tell a teacher about being bullied following intervention schemes. Olweus (1993b) found that schools which adopted a consistent whole-school approach experienced signi cant reductions in levels of bullying and a general improvement in the social climate of the school. Whole-school interventions, as part of the Department for Education Shef eld Anti- Bullying Project, resulted in 15% more children claiming that they would try and help

7 Understanding and Managing Bullying within Schools 247 someone being bullied and 31% more pupils claiming that they would not join in (Sharp & Thompson, 1994). Schools that have involved all staff (and parents/carers and wider community members such as school bus drivers, local shop keepers, etc.) purposefully in the whole process of policy development had the biggest decreases in bullying behaviour (Smith & Sharp, 1994). The Context of Group Violence Soutter and McKenzie (2000) claim the most common determinant of bullying behaviour is the context in which it occurs (i.e., setting events). They recommended that schools acknowledge the importance of the context of behaviours, since being a ``bully'' or ``victim'' tends not to be a personality trait, but rather a response to a set of circumstances (Rivers & Soutter, 1996). The most common circumstances in which bullying occurs in schools is within the context of group violence, where a gang of bullying pupils physically of psychologically attack an individual or group over a period of time (Pikas, 1989; a similar article appears in Roland & Munthe, 1989). Peers are present in most bullying incidents and may be critical in instigating, maintaining and exacerbating bullying episodes (Craig & Pepler, 1995). Gangs often consist of leaders, hangers-on and regular onlookers who do nothing to protect the ``victim'', and their inaction only serves to condone bullying (Cowie, 1998). Children may indicate support for bullying either passively, via not intervening, remaining friends with the bully or gossiping about the incident, or actively, via providing verbal encouragement, holding the victim or adopting the role of lookout (Cowie & Sharp, 1994). Where there is a climate and situation that condones this behaviour, the bully is obtaining positive reinforcement for his/her behaviour, gaining status through aggressive or dominant behaviour, which encourages the bully to continue his/her anti-social behaviour and increase the likelihood of others joining the aggression (Craig et al., 2000b). If the outcome of belittling others is greater popularity and status, it may become an attractive option (Pellegrini, Bartini, & Brooks, 1999). Despite 90% of children reporting that it is unpleasant to watch bullying (Charach, Pepler, & Ziegler, 1995), an audience to bullying appears consistently. Olweus (1991) reasoned that since bullying is an arousing event it is likely to draw in onlookers. Olweus (1997) suggests this mixture of pupils might include many anxious or insecure personalities. Whitney and Smith (1993) found that 18% of pupils said that if their friends were bullying they would join in, which may be a result of peer pressure to conform (Smith & Sharp, 1994). As the number of bystanders increases the likelihood that someone will intervene to stop the situation decreases, which has been explained by the diffusion of responsibility effect (Latane & Darley, 1970; Latane & Nida, 1981). Olweus (1991) argued that increased arousal levels present when viewing bullying may encourage children who would not normally be aggressive to become involved. Bullies have been found to be outgoing and socially con dent (Smith & Sharp, 1994) and to perform better on social cognition tasks, than those in the follower or reinforcer roles. Such individuals may use this skill to manipulate their victims and supporters (Sutton & Smith, 1999).

8 248 P. Reid et al. Pupils' Attitudes Towards Bullying Research looking at pupils' attitudes towards bullying has revealed that about 50% of children were sympathetic to victims and would try to help and not join in, whereas one-quarter were neutral and one-quarter were not sympathetic (Ahmed et al., 1991). Rigby and Slee (1991) found that a small minority of children, especially boys, admired bullies, which could serve to encourage and increase bullying behaviour (Sutton, Smith, & Sweettenham, 1997). Carney (2000) found bystanders tended to empathise with victims and pupils tended to support victims, not to approve of bullies or despise victims for being weak (Rigby & Slee, 1991). Rigby and Slee (1991) found males to be less supportive towards the victim than females, and that sympathy for the victim decreased with age. This could indicate the need for early intervention programmes that aim to change apathetic attitudes and enhance children's sensitivity towards the victim (Craig et al., 2000b). Boulton and Flemington (1996) found antibullying videos may be the rst step in encouraging children to re ect on these emotions, with debrie ng and simulation sessions helping to consolidate and extend understandings (Boulton & Flemington, 1996). Such actions could help foster empathy for victims of bullying and encourage more pro-social attitudes and behaviours (Boulton & Flemington, 1996). Bystander Behaviour Rivers and Soutter (1996) found most pupils failed to help someone being teased in isolation for fear of being teased themselves (Cowie & Sharp, 1994). Most pupils reported feeling uncomfortable about admitting their inaction. Carney (2000) reports bystanders to feel powerless, their inaction leading to a covert loss of selfrespect. Charach et al. (1995) suggest that the low rate of peer intervention may not re ect apathy, but rather a lack of effective strategies. Students need to feel con dent in their own skills to intervene and know that they will have the support of teachers (Craig et al., 2000b). Carney (2000) and Salmiavalli, Karhunen, and Lagerspetz (1996, cited in Sutton & Smith, 1999) emphasise that bystanders must be targeted if schools wish to be successful in reducing bullying behaviour and pupils being enabled to stand up for what is right (Soutter & McKenzie, 2000). Boulton and Underwood (1992) state that ``Children should be made aware ¼ that everyone has a responsibility to act either by challenging the bully directly or reporting the incident to an adult'' (p. 82). Accordingly, Herbert (1989) claimed that ``Perhaps the most important factor in combating bullying is the social pressure brought to bear by the peer group rather than the condemnation of individual bullies by someone in authority'' (pp. 79±80). The Characteristics of ``Victims'' Pupils need to feel enabled and con dent to challenge bullying behaviours. This applies not only to bystanders, but also to victims, since victims of bullying have often

9 Understanding and Managing Bullying within Schools 249 been found to be passive, anxious, weak, lacking self-con dence, unpopular and having a low self-esteem (Besag, 1989; Farrington, 1993; Hazler, 1996; Olweus, 1991, 1993a; Skinner, 1992). Sharp (1996), however, found students who had a high self-esteem were as likely to be victims as those with a low self-esteem, although the latter reported more extensive bullying, higher levels of stress, and more negative effects of stress. Children with special educational needs have been found to be more at risk than mainstream pupils of victimisation (Nabuzoka & Smith, 1993; O'Moore & Hillery, 1989), as are slow developers (Carney & Merrell, 2001), children with physical dif culties, children from ethnic minorities (Smith & Sharp, 1994) and pupils who do not t gender stereotypes (i.e., the ``Sissy-boy'' and the ``Tom-girl'' Robertson & Monsen, 2001; Shakeshaft et al., 1995). Pikas (1989; a similar article appears in Roland & Munthe, 1989) distinguished between the victim whose behaviour does not particularly cause the bullying and the provocative victim who, by being disruptive and behaving inappropriately, can be seen to contribute to the bullying they receive. These students often have attentional problems and may be hyperactive (Carney & Merrell, 2001). They tend to elicit negative reactions from most of their peers (Carney & Merrell, 2001; Olweus, 1997), and are at risk for later adjustment problems (Batsche, 1997). Smith and Sharp (1994), explain that victims tend to have limited self-assertive skills and are poor at handling aggressive reactions. They are more likely to show signs of distress and anxiety in social interactions, leading them to reward bullies by giving in to behavioural demands (Berthold & Hoover, 2000; Sharp, 1996). Sharp (1996) claims that particular responses to bullying situations may contribute to the continuation of bullying. Sharp and Cowie (1994), describe four categories of responding to bullying. An aggressive response only serves to escalate the problem, which is ironically the response that parents/carers (especially fathers) often recommend (Soutter & McKenzie, 2000). A passive unconstructive response ignores the behaviour but meets the bully's demands, and a passive constructive response involves exiting quickly from a bullying situation, and seeking support from teachers and peers, which may eventually disable the victim. An assertive response, where a pupil ``calmly'' refuses to comply with demands, is the most successful in reducing the likelihood of victimisation in the future, as it fails to reinforce the bully's aggressive behaviour. Participants who had higher self-esteems were more likely to employ more active and assertive response styles to bullying and experienced less negative effects of bullying, whereas pupils with lower self-esteems tended to respond more aggressively (Sharp, 1996). Bowers, Smith, and Binney (1992) found that bullied students often came from highly protective, close-knit families (Olweus, 1993a) where they may have had little experience of handling con ict themselves. Therefore, they may not have acquired the appropriate skills for handling con ict because of a lack of exposure or may have become over-reliant on parents/carers, thus increasing their sense of ``helplessness'' and ``victim'' thinking. Subsequently, this implies the value of actively working to enhance at risk pupils assertiveness and con ict resolution skills (Carney & Merrell, 2001).

10 250 P. Reid et al. Enabling Pupils to Manage Interpersonal ``Con ict'' The playground is reportedly the most common location in school to experience bullying (Blatchford & Sharp, 1994; Boulton, 1994a; Charach et al., 1995; Craig et al., 2000b; Olweus, 1991, Pepler et al., 1994; Whitney & Smith, 1993). This trend may be partially due to dif culties in detection, since the ratio of students to teachers in the playground is three to four times greater than that in the classroom (Andrews & Hinton, 1991; Craig et al., 2000b). Although an inverse relationship exists between adult supervision and bullying (Olweus, 1991; Soutter & McKenzie, 2000), it is important to acknowledge that playground interactions may provide valuable situations where children can experience and learn to resolve con ict themselves. Boulton (1994b) emphasises that too much reliance on adult supervision results in children having less opportunities to experience and deal with various levels of con ict, which provides a useful way for children to learn that people are different and to develop skills to understand and deal with such con icts (Titman, 1989). Working or playing in cooperative groups helps children to develop assertive problem-solving skills (Cowie & Sharp, 1994), self-suf ciency (Johnson & Johnson, 1989), organisational and social skills (Sharp & Cowie, 1994) and an ability to tolerate different perspectives on the same issue (Cowie & Sharp, 1994). These attributes build capacity and resilience in children enabling them to cope better, which the negative effects of bullying. Similarly, Cowie, Smith, Boulton, & Laver (1994) found that cooperative group work in junior classes reduced victimisation of vulnerable children. Sharp (1996) recommends that steps are taken to increase students' assertion skills and that constructive and active strategies for handling dif cult situations should be directly taught to at risk pupils. Sharp's (1996) research found that the most important protective factor in response to being bullied was that the student responds actively rather than passively. Individuals who feel that they can exercise some control over their own situation, and who feel competent and effective, experience signi cant psychological, physiological and social advantages (Bandura, 1989; Skinner, 1995). Children who have a more internal locus of control feel that they can shape their experiences, feel less helpless when faced with adversity and are therefore more likely to adopt more effective coping skills (Kobasa, 1979; Sadowski, Woodward, Davis, & Elsbury, 1983; Skinner, 1995). Children need to be given lessons providing strategies and a language or script for responding and intervening appropriately to de-escalate bullying episodes (Craig et al., 2000b). Soutter and McKenzie (2000) claim that successful anti-bullying intervention strategies tended to involve peer mediation, which teaches students non-violent methods of resolving con icts. This would be especially bene cial for children inclined to bully, as they tend to come from homes where discipline is harsh and inconsistent, have limited social problem-solving skills (Banks, 1997; Batsche & Knoff, 1994; Carney, 2000; Hazler, 1996; Olweus, 1991, 1993b) and have learnt unhelpful emotional coping strategies from parents/carers (Carney & Merrell, 2001).

11 Understanding and Managing Bullying within Schools 251 Carney and Merrell (2001) found problem-solving activities using simulations and puppets to be especially effective for working with younger children. Arora (1991) reported that an assertiveness training group for bullied boys led to increases in self-esteem, reductions in reported bullying and increased teacher perceptions of social competence. Some schools involved in the Department for Education Shef eld Anti-Bullying Project (Smith & Sharp, 1994) implemented assertiveness training for students who were being persistently bullied by their peers. This involved a series of sessions where students were taught how to make assertive statements, resist manipulation and threats, respond to name calling, leave a bullying situation, enlist support from peers and remain calm in bullying situations. This corresponds with Bryant's (1992) research showing children who respond to con ict calmly and assertively to be preferred by their peers. Although this intervention did not seem to contribute to the general reduction of bullying in schools, it did make a signi cant impact on the self-esteem of the students involved, since children reported that having ideas about how to respond made them feel more con dent when encountering bullying (Childs, 1993), which has been found to reduce the negative effects of bullying (Sharp, 1996). Perhaps the intervention would have been more effective at reducing the incidents of bullying if it had additionally targeted bystanders, who also need to be taught strategies to help them to develop the con dence to intervene assertively and competently, in order to challenge bullying behaviours as opposed to reinforcing them. In an environment where bullying is simply not condoned, pupils who indulge in bullying behaviour will feel uncomfortable breaking group norms (Soutter & McKenzie, 2000), and will be less likely to obtain the desired fearful response from their chosen victim as the victim will expect support from peers and teachers (Cowie & Sharp, 1994). Training Parents/Carers Sharp (1996) recommends that training workshops for parents/carers on effective responses should be provided so parents/carers can rehearse effective strategies with their children at home. Tonge (1992) evaluated the effectiveness of assertiveness training groups in three schools, revealing that 71% of pupils felt more con dent as a result of the sessions. A signi cant change in coping strategies was observed, with an increased tendency to use constructive responses, and pupils reported a 68% decrease in being bullied at nal interview. Even two terms afterwards, without reinforcement, levels of bullying were found to be lower than before groups met (Childs, 1993). Where staf ng or timetabling restricts possibilities of running training groups, Sharp and Cowie (1994) recommend that parents/carers, governors and lunchtime supervisors could be trained to provide the appropriate support. Pikas's Method of Shared Concern: ``No Blame Approach'' Pikas's (1987) ``Method of Shared Concern'' targets the social phenomenon by which

12 252 P. Reid et al. individuals get caught up in aggressive groups experiencing peer pressure to conform, a diffusion of responsibility and a fear that they themselves may become victims (Smith, Cowie, & Sharp, 1994). A teacher's role is to bring the individual feelings of shame and unease they have about the bullying behaviour to conscious awareness. This is achieved via a series of talks with each group member to establish shared concern for the victim, in a no blame, non-punitive manner, to help pupils to concentrate on solving the problem rather than defending their characters or positions (Smith et al., 1994). Follow-up interviews are held and then a group meeting including all individuals involved, where they are invited to think up constructive solutions, the practicalities of which will be considered by the teacher. Olweus (1988) challenges this method with reference to clinical evidence showing that bullies tend not to show empathy for their victims' feelings, the lack of parental/carer involvement and the manipulative situation devised by the teachers. These concerns aside Smith et al. (1994) have found the technique to be a powerful short-term tool for combating bullying. Additionally, Simms (1992) and Lucas (1993) revealed that three-quarters of pupils felt that bullying had decreased as a result of the implementation of the technique. Lucas (1993) believes the process is complimented by moving ``hard core'' leader bullies from the class to break up the group in order to reduce the chance of the bullying group re-forming. Since research shows that only one-half of those pupils who admit to bullying in questionnaires will admit it when interviewed (Ahmed & Smith, 1990), this method, which avoids apportioning blame, may reduce this problem (Smith et al., 1994). Maines and Robinson (1991a, 1991b, 1992) also advocate a no-blame approach to bullying, reasoning that punitive methods are bound to fail since they simply reinforce the value of hierarchy and dominance through power that is central in bullying. ``Bully Courts'', although recommended by Kidscape (1990) (Elliot, 1991), have had limited use in schools since they are feared to be too punitive in nature, giving children too much power (Smith et al., 1994), which could possibly be misplaced. Additionally, punishment may put victims at risk of revenge attacks (Smith et al., 1994). Soutter and McKenzie (2000) highlight the risks that the term bully may label the student permanently. Rigby (1997) emphasised the bene ts of describing the behaviours, which are unhelpful instead of using emotive labels. Boulton (1994a) advises that teachers must resist the temptation to overreact and use overpowering sanctions, since Bandura's (1977) social learning theory predicts that children are likely to imitate these behaviours, which paradoxically maintain dif culties. Similarly, if teachers' behaviour management tends to value some students over others via humiliating students (i.e., sarcasm, shouting, favourites, etc.), they convey that some people are respected less than others (Soutter & McKenzie, 2000). Conclusions Psychological research has revealed bullying to be highly prevalent in schools, and has shown teachers to underestimate its magnitude, leading to low intervention rates.

13 Understanding and Managing Bullying within Schools 253 Psychological investigations into teachers' and pupil's awareness of the behaviours that constitute bullying have highlighted an insuf cient acknowledgement of indirect forms of bullying, which are predominantly employed by females. This nding should prompt schools to provide training schemes for teachers and children and young people on the variety and subtleties of bullying behaviours, to enhance teachers' skills at de ning and detecting bullying and raise pupil's awareness. Psychological inquiry has shown children and young people to be reluctant to report and challenge bullying despite a negative attitude towards bullying behaviour. Reasons for this may encompass fears of being unsupported by peers and teachers, a lack of assertive strategies, low self-esteem and poor con ict resolution skills. Some schools have applied this nding in their development of anti-bullying intervention schemes, which have aimed to teach children con ict resolution skills, assertive response strategies and enhance self-esteem. Despite psychological theory emphasising the fundamental role of bystanders in the continuation of bullying behaviour, few schools have targeted children and young people as a whole, and have instead primarily focused on victimised and, less frequently, bullying pupils, which has probably served to restrict the bene cial outcomes of interventions. Psychological theory has revealed possible negative effects of implementing punitive bullying sanctions, which schools would bene t from considering when devising and applying whole-school practices. However, as society advances so too do the media through which bullying can be perpetrated. Psychological research now needs to focus on the ways in which bullying by text massage, and through internet chat rooms can be constructively challenged. As technology is fast becoming a facet of modern education, new methods of countering bullying are needed, and anti-bullying policies need to re ect the changing pattern of this particular form of anti-social behaviour. References Ahmed, Y., & Smith, P. K. (1990). Behavioural measures: bullying in schools. Newsletter of Association for Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 12, 26±27. Ahmed, Y., & Smith, P. K. (1994). Bullying in schools and the issue of sex differences. In J. Archer (Ed.), Male violence. London: Routledge. Ahmed, Y., Whitney, I., & Smith, P. K. (1991). A survey service for schools on bully/victim problems. In P. K. Smith & D. A. Thompson (Eds.), Practical approaches to bullying. London: David Fulton. Andrews, C., & Hinton, S. (1991). Enhancing the quality of play in school playgrounds: a pilot project. London: National Children's Play and Recreation Unit. Arora, T. (1991). The use of victim support groups. In P. K. Smith & D. Thompson (Eds.), Practical approaches to bullying. London: David Fulton. Arora, C. M. J., & Thompson, D. A. (1987). De ning bullying for a secondary school. Education and Child Psychology, 4(3±4), 110±120. Atlas, R., & Pepler, D. J. (1998). Observations of bullying in the classroom. American Journal of Educational Research, 92, 86±99.

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