Title

Friends Against Bullying: Evaluation of a peer-mentoring program to reduce bullying in schools

Date of Completion

January 2005

Keywords

Education, Guidance and Counseling|Education, Educational Psychology

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

Bullying in schools is a pervasive problem that affects large numbers of students each year, and can have serious adverse consequences for everyone in the school environment. Literature in the area of bullying has suggested that peer-based interventions may be an effective tool in combating the problem of bullying. However, this area remains relatively overlooked with regard to empirical research. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a peer-implemented anti-bullying curriculum entitled Friends Against Bullying (FAB). The FAB program is an original program, developed by the researcher, that incorporates several strategies identified in the literature as critical components of bullying intervention and is built upon the premises that (1) peer-led interventions can be a successful way to combat bullying and (2) that cognitive dissonance can be a powerful motivator for changing behavior. The FAB program consists of six scripted lessons that instruct students in identifying bullying, avoiding bullying, standing up to bullying, and helping others who are bullied. The study involved sixth grade students as mentors of the anti-bullying curriculum, with third, fourth, and fifth grade students as the mentees. Consistent with previous research findings, the results of this study revealed initially high prevalence rates of victimization and bullying among the participants. Results of self-report data collected before and after the intervention revealed differential changes in self-reported victimization across grade but revealed no changes in bullying behavior. With the exception of fifth grade students, participants generally found the program to be acceptable. Contributions and limitations of the study in addition to future directions for research are discussed. ^