Effects of Antibullying School Program on Bullying and Health Complaints | Pediatrics | JAMA Pediatrics | JAMA Network
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June 2006

Effects of Antibullying School Program on Bullying and Health Complaints

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Youth Department, TNO (Netherlands Organization of Applied Scientific Research) Prevention and Health, Leiden (Drs Fekkes and Verloove-Vanhorick), Geneeskundige en GezondheidsDienst Amsterdam (Dr Pijpers), Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Leiden University Medical Center (Dr Verloove-Vanhorick), the Netherlands.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006;160(6):638-644. doi:10.1001/archpedi.160.6.638

Objective  To evaluate the effects of an antibullying school intervention in elementary schools.

Design  Two-year follow-up randomized intervention group–control group.

Setting  Forty-seven elementary schools in the Netherlands.

Participants  Three thousand eight hundred sixteen children aged 9 to 12 years.

Intervention  During the first study year, an antibullying school program was implemented in the schools in the intervention group.

Main Outcome Measures  A questionnaire measuring bullying behavior, depression, psychosomatic complaints, delinquent behavior, and satisfaction with school life and peer relationships was filled out by the students at 3 times to obtain the following data: a baseline measurement, a first-effect measurement at the end of the first year, and a second-effect measurement at the end of the second year.

Results  The number of bullied children decreased by 25% in the intervention group compared with the control group (relative risk, 0.75; 95% confidence interval, 0.57-0.98). The intervention group also showed a decline in the scale scores of victimization (−1.06 vs 0.28; P<.01) and active bullying behaviors (−0.47 vs 0.12, P<.05). Self-reported peer relationships also improved in the intervention schools (0.48 vs 0.11; P<.05), and there was a trend for a decrease in reported depression in the intervention schools (−0.33 vs −0.10; P<.10). At follow-up, there were no differences between the intervention and control groups for the outcome measures. Schools had also lowered their antibullying activities during the second study year.

Conclusions  An antibullying school policy can reduce bullying behavior. To keep bullying at a consistently low level, schools must continue antibullying measures every year. Continued counseling may help schools in their efforts to establish a lasting antibullying policy.