Improving the Success of Anti-Bullying Intervention Programs: A Tool for Matching Programs with Purposes

Carey, Timothy A.
May 2003
International Journal of Reality Therapy;Spring2003, Vol. 22 Issue 2, p16
Academic Journal
Many definitions of bullying include a statement about the intent behind the bullying behavior. However, when bullying behavior is assessed or is the focus of intervention programs, the intent or purpose of students who bully is given little consideration. Thus, there appears to be a discrepancy in the literature between the way bullying is defined compared with the intervention programs that are designed and implemented to combat this widespread phenomenon. In this paper, a structured interview proforma is offered as a way of assessing the purpose behind the observed or reported bullying actions. Using this proforma may help educators make decisions about the most suitable kind of intervention for the student being interviewed as a way of further reducing the incidence of bullying in schools. Bullying can be a serious problem for children of all ages. Although bullying has been researched since the late 1960s, it was not until the early 1980s that research into bullying was conducted on a large scale (Olweus, 1993). In 1983, the Ministry of Education in Norway collected data relating to the problem of bullying from 700 Norwegian schools. Since that time, research has been conducted in countries including Britain, Ireland, Australia, Japan, Sweden, and the United States. As the concept of bullying as a research topic has expanded, the ways of conceptualizing bullying have diversified. While definitions of bullying share certain common features, there are also some important differences (Arora, 1996). One component that is common to many definitions of bullying is the intent or the purpose behind the actions that we categorize as bullying. Often, the intent that is suggested is slightly different with each definition; however, the idea that intent is important is quite common. If intent is an important component in defining bullying, it seems logical that intent should also be addressed when antibullying intervention programs are designed. Curiously, this is not...


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