Source: (2011) Dissertation submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health. Walden University.
Bullying is the leading form of school violence. Meta-analysis of traditional anti bullying efforts have shown mixed results, averaging small reductions in bullying behavior. Extant research supports the evaluation of alternative approaches to school bullying grounded in theories applied to related youth risk behaviors. The impact of an alternative approach to bullying using a pretest-posttest control group cohort evaluation of 323 middle school students involved in the 16-session Take the LEAD social-emotional learning program was examined. Based on social-emotional learning and positive youth development theories, Take the LEAD employs an interactive, asset-based approach to target the social
competencies of all students in the classroom. Six hypotheses were generated and tested using paired t-test, ANOVA, and ANCOVA to measure self-reported changes in 3 study variables: bullying, victimization, and prosocial behavior. Results indicated significant reductions in bullying and victimization, together with significant increases in prosocial behaviors, including helping, sharing, feeling empathy, and caring for others. Findings remained significant for all 3 study variables after controlling for gender. Results of this study contribute to positive social change by providing empirical support for the application of an original social-emotional learning alternative to reduce bullying and victimization, while simultaneously increasing prosocial behaviors. Educators,
psychologists, public health professionals, and clinicians can use these results to expand existing bullying reduction efforts, assist children and families dealing with bullying and victimization, and broaden the scope and breadth of available alternatives for addressing this growing public health problem. (Excerpt).
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