ArticlePDF Available

The Method of Shared Concern as an Intervention Technique to Address Bullying in Schools: An Overview and Appraisal



This article outlines and appraises the method of shared concern as developed by Anatol Pikas and applied as a technique for resolving bully–victim problems in schools. It includes a description of how the method can be applied in schools, and critically examines some objections that have been raised to its use. These objections are shown to be largely based on misunderstandings of the method. It is concluded that the method of shared concern is, in fact, well grounded theoretically and can be highly effective in reducing bullying when employed by trained practitioners, especially in addressing problems in which there is group involvement by perpetrators of bullying in secondary schools.
Address for correspondence: Professor Ken Rigby, PhD, University of South Australia, Flexible Learning Centre,
Underdale Campus, Holbrooks Rd., Underdale, SA 5032, Australia. E-mail:
Australian Journal of Guidance & Counselling
Volume 15 Number 1 2005 pp. 27–34
The Method of Shared Concern
as an Intervention Technique to
Address Bullying in Schools:
An Overview and Appraisal
Ken Rigby
University of South Australia, Australia
This article outlines and appraises the method of shared concern as developed by
Anatol Pikas and applied as a technique for resolving bully–victim
problems in schools. It includes a description of how the method can
be applied in schools, and critically examines some objections that
have been raised to its use. These objections are shown to be largely
based on misunderstandings of the method. It is concluded that the
method of shared concern is, in fact, well grounded theoretically and
can be highly effective in reducing bullying when employed by trained
practitioners, especially in addressing problems in which there is
group involvement by perpetrators of bullying in secondary schools.
A recent examination of the effectiveness of intervention programs around the world
concluded that they had, in general, been only modestly successful with reduction
rates ranging from zero to around 50%. The average reduction in reported peer vic-
timisation in schools following the implementation of programs was around 10% to
15% (Smith, Pepler, & Rigby, 2004). Clearly, intervention methods have enjoyed
only limited success. Given the prevalence and seriousness of the problem of bully-
ing in schools, there is an urgent need to achieve much more successful outcomes.
One approach that claims to have this capacity, if well implemented, is the method
of shared concern, as proposed by its originator, Anatol Pikas (2002).
The method has been employed as an element in a number of programs interna-
tionally, including ones implemented in England (Smith & Sharp, 1994) Spain
(Ortega & Leara, 2000) Finland (Salmivalli, Kaukiainen, Voetin, Sinasammal, 2004)
and Australia (Peterson & Rigby, 1999). These programs achieved a significant
degree of success in reducing bullying in the schools where they were applied. Visits
to Australia by Pikas in 1994 and 2003 resulted in a number of counsellors being
trained in his method. In schools where shared concern has been applied, principal-
ly in Western Australia, a high level of success has been reported (Griffiths, 2001).
Currently, however, there is a dearth of knowledge among counsellors and teachers
about the method, and some misunderstandings about how it works.
In this article I will be outlining the method as I have come to understand it from
participation in Pikas workshops and discussing its operation at Australian schools
where it has been implemented. I shall also provide a critique or appraisal of its pro-
posed uses and relevance as a tool in addressing forms of bullying.
The Essence of Shared Concern
Essentially, the method of shared concern is a means of working with children
involved in an episode of bullying as perpetrators and target(s) in order to provide
an acceptable solution to the problem raised by their behaviour. It does not seek to
impose a solution, but rather facilitates the emergence of a solution through the use
of interviews and discussion with the parties involved.
Shared concern is in some ways the opposite of traditional and still widely
employed methods of dealing with cases of bullying. Suspected bullies are not inter-
rogated, the facts of the case are not objectively assessed as in a court room, school
rules and judgments are not invoked with an eye on precedents, guilt is not elicit-
ed or pronounced, punishments (often euphemistically described as ‘consequences
or sanctions’) are not applied in an attempt to make the punishment fit the crime.
Instead, the situation is explored as perceived by those involved, there is no digging
for evidence of guilt, no accusations are made, the outcome at which the method is
aimed is a resolution of the problem: that is, a reasonable expectation that the bul-
lying will not continue.
Shared concern is a method that assumes group involvement of perpetrators in
directing acts of bullying towards an individual who is less powerful than they are.
Hence responsibility for the bullying behaviour is diffuse. There may be a ring-
leader, but the ringleader only leads if there are members of a ring that can be led.
The motives of those involved may differ. Some may feel angry or affronted by the
behaviour of the ‘victim’. Some may feel that what they are doing is fun. Others
may be colluding with aggressive members of their group because they are afraid
of becoming victims themselves. Understanding the group dynamics is an impor-
tant aspect of the method. Contrast this with the more traditional approach, which
seeks to identify individuals who are solely responsible for the bullying behaviour,
in order to demonise and appropriately sentence them.
This is not to say that the individual is unimportant. Individuals may need to
be differentiated from others. Personality factors may come into play. Insofar as
group influence is accountable for the individual’s negative behaviour, efforts need
to be made, where possible, to reindividualise that person. As part of the method,
interviews with individual students are conducted. But at no point is there an
intention to ‘break up the group’. Children have a right to enjoy themselves as
group members. How they behave will always depend, to some degree, on peer
group or friendship group influence. Work with the group must complement work
with the individual.
Ken Rigby
Australian Journal of Guidance & Counselling Volume 15 Number 1 2005
The Method
The method of shared concern consists of a series of stages in which interviews or
discussions are undertaken with students who are thought to have been involved in
an episode of bullying. These include suspected bullies and their victim or victims.
Cases are generally chosen in which a group of students are involved in bullying an
individual student who has become distressed as a consequence. Highly serious
cases that involve criminal actions are not included, nor are cases which are seen
as relatively trivial and do not justify a lengthy procedure. The method is seen as
more appropriately applied with secondary school students, and some prior train-
ing in its use method is considered essential
The method may begin when a bully–victim problem has been identified: that is,
a student is being continually oppressed by another person, or more commonly by
a group of students. Ideally, information about the situation becomes available
through direct observations of what is happening or through reports by third par-
ties. It is considered desirable not to obtain information about incidents from the
victimised students in case he or she is victimised further for having ‘informed’ or
‘dobbed in’ the perpetrators. Information is not obtained directly from the vic-
timised students. On the evidence available, students are identified as probably
having taken part in the bullying and each is interviewed in turn. Importantly, none
of them is accused of bullying. They are regarded as ‘suspected bullies’ who can, in
time, assist in resolving the problem.
The Stages
Stage A. The suspected bullies are interviewed in turn, beginning with the stu-
dent who seems most likely to fill the role of ringleader. The meeting takes place
without other students being present or able to observe the interaction, ideally
in a quiet room. The student is greeted and invited to sit in an adjoining chair.
Once eye contact has been established, the interviewer begins to share a con-
cern about the wellbeing of the person who has been treated badly. The inter-
viewer may suggest that perhaps people have been ‘hard on’ him or her, and
that he (or she) is really distressed. It is emphasised that the situation for that
person is clearly not good. At this point the interviewee is asked to say what he
or she knows about what has been happening. Commonly the distressing situ-
ation is acknowledged, not necessarily with any sense of culpability or guilt on
the part of the interviewee. Immediately following the acknowledgment, the
student is asked what can be done to improve matters. Suggestions are elicited.
Positive ones are strongly reinforced. Arrangements are made for a further
meeting to discuss how things have developed. The remaining students in the
suspected bullying group are seen, again individually, and the procedure repeat-
ed. As one might expect, not all interviews run as planned. Students may deny
any knowledge of events or attribute responsibility for the conflict to the
provocative behaviour of the victim. Ways of working with those who assert
their ignorance or innocence — and are reluctant to make any constructive sug-
gestions — need to be improvised. But the experience of those who use the
method is that typically those interviewed do acknowledge what has happened
and do propose possible ways of helping to improve the situation, or ‘fall in’
with a suggested plan to improve matters, either because they feel concerned
Intervention Technique to Address Bullying in Schools
about the plight of the victimised students and/or because they see that it is in
their best interest to cooperate.
Stage B: Interview with victim. The victim is seen after all the suspected
bullies have been interviewed. The interviewer begins by asking the student
how things have been going generally at school, and on hearing about the
abusive treatment from other students, expresses concern, sympathy and
support over what has been happening. But further questions need to be
asked to discover whether the victim has been doing anything to bring on
the bullying — that is, by acting in a provocative way. The interviewer dis-
closes that he or she has actually talked with the bullies individually and,
with their cooperation, is helping to improve the situation.
Stage C. After further meetings have been held with individual bullies and
real progress towards improving the situation has been confirmed, a meet-
ing with the whole group of suspected bullies is arranged. At that meeting
it is possible to (i) compliment the members on the progress that has been
made; and (ii) respond to (or elicit) a suggestion from members of the
group that the victim be invited to join them for a final meeting to demon-
strate that the problem of bullying has really been resolved. Reassurances
must be given by group members that they will act positively towards the
victim at such a meeting. Importantly, the teacher/counsellor should not
arrange such a meeting before it is evident that a constructive outcome can
be obtained. The victim can normally be induced to join the group for a
final meeting, with assurances that the perpetrators of the bullying will
cooperate and a resolution of the problem will follow.
Stage D. The final meeting is to provide confirmation that the bullying is
over and acceptable relations between all the students has been established.
In cases where the victim has behaved provocatively, the interviewer must
seek to facilitate adjustments in the behaviour of both sides, that is, play
the role of mediator. This may lead to an agreement (signed by those con-
cerned) on how the students will behave towards each other in future.
Some Objections to Shared Concern and Rebuttals
As with most radically new methods of dealing with bully/victim problems, shared
concern has its share of critics. Frequently the objections raised are based on a mis-
understanding of the method or upon a lack of knowledge underlying the assump-
tions that are made. Commonly expression objections are examined below.
1. The method of shared concern is a ‘no-blame approach’ that assumes that
individuals should not be held accountable for their actions. As such, it violates
common principles of justice.
One of the major obstacles to the problem-solving approach to bullying, of which
shared concern is a prominent example, lies in a common interpretation or misun-
derstanding of what is meant by the term ‘no blame.’ Parents, horrified at how their
Ken Rigby
Australian Journal of Guidance & Counselling Volume 15 Number 1 2005
child has been abused by ‘a mob of hooligans’ are often incensed at the idea that
they should be ‘let off’. If they are not to blame, they say, who is? Speaking as a
politician, the one-time English Minister of Education, David Blunkett, declared ‘it
is time to end the no-blame culture of the 90s’ (Smithers, 2000). To some extent,
Maines and Robinson (1992) must shoulder some blame for this unfortunate state
of affairs, when they named their thoughtful and influential approach to bullying
the ‘no-blame approach’. Subsequently, its title was modified or expanded upon by
adding the ‘social group approach’. The damage has been hard to undo. To deny
responsibility to individuals who commit deplorable or vicious acts upon others is
as foolish as to deny responsibility to those who seek to help the victims of bully-
ing. Philosophically, it implies a rejection of free will and any personal accountabil-
ity for one’s actions. As such, it is hard to see how this view can ever be acceptable.
However, as a means of resolving problems in which harm has been done to indi-
viduals by others, it is often a sensible way of proceeding — especially if (i) there is
a recognition on the part of the perpetrators that there is better way of behaving;
(ii) there is a commitment to action consistent with such a recognition; and (iii) a
more peaceful and safe environment for children eventuates. To its credit the
method of shared concern can often achieve such goals.
2. The method assumes that bullying is typically a publicly observable event that
can be readily identified and can come to the attention of the teacher without the
event being disclosed by the victim. This is unrealistic.
Research in fact shows that bullying in schools is typically observed by other stu-
dents. Observational studies in Canadian primary schools indicate that on 85% of
occasions bystanders are present (Pepler & Craig, 1995). Who is being bullied by
whom is generally common knowledge among students. In schools where teachers
are observant and where some children are prepared to inform, identifying those
involved in episodes of bullying is relatively easy. At the same time, it must be con-
ceded that some students, especially in Australian secondary schools, are reluctant
to inform teachers, in part because they believe that incidents will be dealt with in
a punitive and often unfair manner (Rigby & Bagshaw, 2003). Effective use of the
method of shared concern, a nonpunitive approach, can encourage students to seek
the help of teachers (Peterson & Rigby, 1999).
3. Shared concern presupposes group involvement in bullying rather than bully-
ing of a one-on-one kind, which is reported as being the case in many published
accounts of bully/victim interactions.
It is true that joint action by a group, as in ‘mobbing’ as it is generally understood,
that is, being akin to lynching, is not common in most schools, although it does
sometimes occur. Further, there are many occasions in which one person appears
to be the sole perpetrator. In fact, among the bystanders present, there are likely
to be some who actively or passively support the bullying, as many recent studies
have shown (Pepler & Craig, 1995; Salmivalli et al., 1999; Rigby & Johnson,
2004). The support and encouragement of the group to which the perpetrator
belongs is commonly a key factor in the motivation and continuation of the bul-
lying behaviour.
Intervention Technique to Address Bullying in Schools
4. The method assumes that bullies are potentially empathetic and will respond
positively to concern for their victim being expressed by a teacher. In fact, they
lack empathy and the capacity to cooperate.
While research has shown that children who repeatedly bully others are signifi-
cantly below average in their degree of empathy and cooperativeness (Slee &
Rigby, 1993) and Rigby and Cox (1996), it should not be assumed that they are
incapable of responding empathetically or cooperatively. Some perpetrators of
bullying do in fact acknowledge feelings of sympathy for victims, especially when
interviewed in one-to-one situations, and do cooperate with the interviewer. It
should further be understood that many children who bully others come to see
that it is in their best interests to seek an acceptable solution to the problem in
which they are involved, in part because they themselves feel at risk of being bul-
lied by other members of the group.
5. The method of shared concern assumes that a mediating process can effec-
tively be applied to problems of conflict between bullies and victims. This
requires that there should be an approximate equality of power between the two
parties and a readiness, especially on the part of the more powerful, to reach a
fair solution. These assumptions are invalid. Moreover, mediation requires neu-
trality on the part of the mediator, which is unrealistic and unfair to the victim,
who is not to blame.
In the course of working with bullies and victims, the dynamics of the group sit-
uation are likely to change. In moving towards a constructive solution, the teacher
is implicitly overcoming the imbalance of power. The victim is to a degree empow-
ered. It should also be recognised that in some cases (though by no means all) the
person being targeted has acted provocatively and needs to change his or her
behaviour before the problem can be resolved. Mediation may play a particularly
important part in such cases.
6. Parents have a right to know if a child is being investigated for bullying
someone at school. Shared concern is unethical since it does not involve notify-
ing parents.
Although a child may be interviewed after being identified as a ‘suspected bully’
no accusations are made by the interviewer. The child is being asked to help in the
resolution of the problem; no infringement of student or parent rights takes place.
7. Parents of victims justifiably require that those who bully their children are
punished, not counselled and ‘let off’.
Parents indeed often want to see the bullies punished, but when they are con-
fronted with the option of whether their child is to made more safe or have the
satisfaction of seeing the bully punished (which often leads to renewed bullying
that may be harder to identify as bullying, but equally or more damaging to the
victim) they find the former option more attractive. As Pikas says: ‘You have to
make a choice between revenge and security for your child behind the backs of
teachers. I can provide the second and therefore I have to refrain from the first’
(Pikas, personal communication, 2005).
Ken Rigby
Australian Journal of Guidance & Counselling Volume 15 Number 1 2005
8. For many teachers the method is personally uncongenial because they
instinctively feel angry and determined to see justice done. Moreover, training in
the method and the application of the method are both very time-consuming and
schools cannot accommodate these drawn-out processes.
Some teachers may indeed find that that they cannot behave in a calm, nonpunitive
way required of the method. There remain, however, many teachers and counsellors
who are interested in using the method and are prepared to undertake the necessary
training. Whether the time taken in applying the method is justified depends on
whether schools are prepared to invest in the training and the implementation of a
method that promises to reduce bullying without resort to punitive methods.
The Evidence
No method of addressing bullying has been reported as 100% effective. Some
cases present extreme difficulties because of the personalities of the participants in
particular bully–victim problems. Some bullying occurs in schools in which there
is an ethos in which bullying behaviour is frequently reinforced by other students.
Users of the method may sometimes make mistakes in its application. Despite
these recurring circumstances, the method of shared concern has been incorporat-
ed into a number of highly successful programs and appears to have played a part
in achieving above average reductions in bullying (see especially the work of
Salmivalli, 2004 in Finland). Its acceptability by teachers is strongly attested
through its selection by numerous staff members in English schools undertaking
antibullying work as part of the Sheffield study undertaken by Smith et al. (2004).
In that study it was reported that interventions using shared concern were suc-
cessful in approximately two thirds of cases. In a subsequent application of the
method in Scottish schools, 34 of the 38 cases treated in this way were reported
as having ‘successful’ or ‘very successful outcomes’ (Duncan, 1996).
The underlying rationale of shared concern is persuasive. Misgivings over its
adoption as a means of countering bullying in schools are to a large extent due to
misunderstandings, as well as to an understandable reluctance on the part of some
counsellors and teachers to embrace an approach that appears radically different
from many others, requires a serious investment of time in both training and
application. Not only must individual school staff members become convinced of
its efficacy, but the leadership in a school and a substantial proportion of school
personnel also need to be convinced of its value and acceptability to the school
community. In a supportive school environment in which school counsellors and
teachers are prepared to examine the method carefully and develop among them-
selves, through discussion and role play, the capacity and confidence to apply the
method of shared concern, first to relatively ‘easy’ cases, then later to more chal-
lenging ones, considerable inroads can be made into the occurrence of bullying
behaviour between students.
Intervention Technique to Address Bullying in Schools
Duncan, A. (1996). The shared concern method of resolving group bullying in schools.
Educational Psychology in Practice, 12(2), 94–98.
Griffiths, C. (2001). Countering bullying in schools training package. Perth, Australia:
Western Australian Department of Education.
Ortega, R., & Lera, M.J. (2000). Seville anti-bullying school project. Aggressive
Behaviour, 26, 113–123.
Maines, B., & Robinson, G. (1992). The no-blame approach. Bristol, UK: Lame Duck.
Pepler, D.J., & Craig, W.M. (1995). A peek behind the fence: Naturalistic observations of
aggressive children with remote audiovisual recording. Developmental Psychology,
31(4), 548–553.
Petersen, L., & Rigby, K. (1999). Countering bullying at an Australian secondary school.
Journal of Adolescence, 22(4), 481–492.
Pikas, A. (2002). New developments of shared concern method. School Psychology
International, 23(3), 307–326.
Rigby, K. (2002). New perspectives on bullying. London: Jessica Kingsley
Rigby, K., & Bagshaw, D. (2003). Prospects of adolescent students collaborating with
teachers in addressing issues of bullying and conflict in schools. Educational
Psychology, 32, 535–546.
Rigby, K., & Cox, I.K. (1996). The contributions of bullying and low self-esteem to acts of
delinquency among Australian teenagers. Personality and Individual Differences,
21(4), 609–612.
Rigby, K., & Johnson, B. (2004). Innocent bystanders? Teacher, September, 38–40.
Salmivalli, C. (1999). Participant role approach to school bullying: Implications for inter-
ventions. Journal of Adolescence, 22, 453–459.
Salmivalli, C., Kaukiainen, A., Voetin, M., & Sinasammal, M. (2004). Targeting the group
as a whole: The Finish anti-bullying intervention. In P.K Smith, D. Pepler, & K. Rigby
(Eds.), Bullying in schools: How successful can interventions be? (pp. 251–275).
Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Slee, P.T., & Rigby, K. (1993). The relationship of Eysenck’s personality factors and self-
esteem to bully/victim behaviour in Australian school boys. Personality and Individual
Differences, 14, 371–373.
Smith, P.K., Pepler, D., & Rigby, K. (2004). (Eds). Bullying in schools: How successful can
interventions be? Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press
Smith P.K., & Sharp, S. (1994). School bullying. London: Routledge.
Smith P.K., Sharp, S., Eska, M., & Thompson, D. (2004). England: The Sheffield Project.
In P.K. Smith, D. Pepler, & K. Rigby (Eds.), Bullying in schools: How successful can
interventions be? (pp. 99–123). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Smithers, R. (2000, December 11). Blunkett launches anti-bullying guidelines. The
Ken Rigby
... try to empower children involved in bullying to negotiate a solution. Moreover, these methods acknowledge that bullying is often a group process in which responsibility for the bullying behaviour may be diffuse [4] [13]. ...
Conference Paper
In this paper, we report on the first phase of a participatory design project on addressing traditional and cyber-bullying in primary school. The goal of the project is to provide teachers with digital tools to enable children ages 9-10 to prevent and cope with manifestations of bullying in the social context of the class. We invited experts and teachers in a series of mapping sessions to identify preconditions for this bottom-up oriented approach. The resulting insights provide direction for the next phase of the project in which we will actively involve children.
... They do not seek to impose a solution but, to a certain degree, try to empower students involved in bullying to negotiate a solution through a series of meetings. Moreover, these methods assume group involve-ment of perpetrators in directing acts of bullying towards a victim who is less powerful than they are, and that, as such, responsibility for the bullying behavior becomes diffuse (Rigby, 2005;Demko, 1996). Also, these methods emphasize the effects of bullying on the victim's feelings and emotions, rather than on the details of what exactly occurred (Demko, 1996). ...
As part of the EMSOC-project (User Empowerment in a Social Media Culture) that investigates the influence of social media on the (dis)empowerment of vulnerable individuals and groups, we have explored how to address traditional and cyber-bullying in primary school. In this report, we describe a series of mapping sessions with experts and teachers that resulted in a set of preconditions to prevent bullying in the social context of the class, as well as suggestions for how these preconditions can be created.
... These methods do not seek to impose a solution but, to a certain degree, try to empower children involved in bullying to nego-tiate a solution. Moreover, these methods acknowledge that bullying is a group process in which responsibility for the bullying behaviour may be diffuse (Demko, 1996;Rigby, 2005). ...
As part of the EMSOC project (User Empowerment in a Social Media Culture) that investigates the influence of social media on the (dis)empowerment of vulnerable individuals and groups, we have explored novel ways for increasing children’s self-­regulation in the prevention of traditional and cyber­-bullying in a class context. In this report, we first present a roadmap for addressing bullying in school based on insights from experts and teachers who were involved in a series of mapping sessions. Then, we describe children's ideas and values for improving the social cohesion and class atmosphere in order to prevent bullying. These ideas and values emerged during a 3-week co-design project in two Belgian primary schools. Based on these insights, we conclude with a set of recommendations for the design of class tools that may increase children’s self-­regulation in the prevention of bullying.
... Only a handful of studies have evaluated interventions that specifically target individual victims of peer aggression. Included here are intervention components embedded in universal programs (e.g., KiVA; Juvonen et al., 2016) as well as stand-alone interventions, such as the Social Skills Group Intervention (S.S. GRIN;DeRosier & Marcus, 2005) and the Method of Shared Concern (Rigby, 2005). More recently, scholars have begun evaluating the benefits of context-specific interventions, such as the Lunch Buddy mentoring program, that target high-risk high-reward social settings (e.g., cafeteria) for victims of peer aggression (Elledge et al., 2010;Gregus, Craig, Hernandez Rodriguez, Pastrana, & Cavell, 2015;Pryce et al., 2015). ...
Doctoral Dissertation: Peer victimization has been linked to maladjustment in school-age children. However, the field is less clear about how different parameters of peer victimization (e.g., frequency, stability) confer risk to children. In this study, I evaluated the extent to which key parameters (operationalized as distinct peer victimization indices) predicted internalizing maladjustment in 4th grade children (N = 445). From self-, teacher-, and peer-reported victimization data gathered at three time points within an academic year, I generated the following indices: Mean Level, Stability, Cross- Informant Agreement, and Informant Source. Controlling for baseline internalizing scores, hierarchical multiple regressions indicated that: a) only self-reported Mean Level and Stability, and Cross-Informant Agreement at Time 3 (T3) predicted internalizing outcomes; b) teacher- and peer-reported victimization did not predict internalizing adjustment; c) victimization self-reports at T3 were the best predictors of internalizing maladjustment; d) predictive utility of the indices was modest at best; and e) internalizing functioning at T1 accounted for most of the variance explained by the models. Post-hoc analyses found: a) gender moderated the relation between victimization self-reports and internalizing outcomes; and b) race/ethnicity moderated the relation between peer-reports and internalizing outcomes. Results were discussed through the lens of conceptual frameworks (e.g., information processing models, social ecological models) hypothesized to play a role in the development of internalizing maladjustment as a direct or indirect consequence of peer victimization. Limitations, implications for research and practice, and future directions were discussed.
National and international research studies that involve parents for obtaining their insight on content of school bullying prevention programmes are minimal. The purpose of this research study was to conduct a needs assessment to obtain parents’ preferences in terms of the content that are to be included or addressed in a potential three dimensional-bullying programme (3D-bullying programme) for parents, educators, and learners in a South African context. This research study used a self-developed questionnaire and a cross-sectional survey at five schools in South Africa (SA) with varying socio-economic circumstances. The research methodology followed a quantitative research approach and a quantitative-descriptive survey design. The findings could be useful for developing a three-dimensional social group work school bullying programme to address bullying in primary schools.
Beyond Bullying offers guidance and advice on conducting practitioner research into bullying and provides resources to assist practitioners and researchers in doing so. It draws on a case study of almost 1,000 secondary school students over a period of 5 academic years to explore student perception of traditional bullying and cyber bullying, and how recommended approaches to bullying research can be applied to practice. The book provides an overview of bullying and cyber bullying literature, considering recent research in the field, how this was conducted, and what the findings were. In addition, the case study illustrates how a positive anti-bullying school ethos can be established through practitioner research. Each chapter will impart both practical and academic knowledge enabling the reader to: - conduct bullying research with secondary school students - complete research activities with bullies and victims - help students to raise awareness of bullying in school - inform school staff of problems occurring at class level. Beyond Bullying discusses how bullying research can be used to construct a model of bullying behaviour in the school environment and establishes suitable approaches to bullying intervention. The book will appeal to practitioner researchers in the area of school bullying, as well as practitioners, researchers and postgraduate students in the fields of education, sociology and related disciplines.
Full-text available
Bullying is a major problem in schools and workplaces that has not been adequately addressed by policymakers, teachers, employers, managers or legislators. This position paper offers a research-informed approach that may assist those who are concerned with bullying.
Full-text available
This article describes a methodology that is uniquely suited to study peer interactions, particularly those of aggressive children. To date, researchers have used laboratory and naturalistic observations to investigate children's aggressive interactions. To overcome difficulties such as the constraints of laboratory situations and reactivity to proximal observations, video cameras and wireless microphones were used in a study of the peer relations of aggressive and nonaggressive children. Details about the equipment and procedures are provided, along with logistical and ethical considerations. Remote audiovisual observations provide a unique opportunity to observe children's interactions that generally occur beyond adults' view. The primary strength of this observational methodology is its external validity. Children being observed are completely mobile on the school playground and are able to choose the activities and partners for their play. The effectiveness of this methodology is illustrated with results from our studies of children on school playgrounds. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Full-text available
This article describes the current problem of bullying in schools in Andalucia (southern Spain) and goes on to examine some possible responses being developed at the University of Seville to meet the challenge of school-based aggression. The project goes under the collective rubric of “SAVE”—The Seville Anti-Bullying in School Project. The SAVE project combines an investigative research initiative with a preventive action programme aimed at reducing the problems of violence in primary and secondary schools. This takes a whole-school approach (similar to that used in the Sheffield Anti-Bullying Project in the U.K.) And involves coordinated action against bullying across 13 schools situated in socially deprived areas in Seville. The problem is approached through the school curriculum and places particular emphasis on children who are considered to have special needs in this area. Aggr. Behav. 26:113–123, 2000. © 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Bullying in Schools is the first comparative account of the major intervention projects against school bullying that have been carried out by educationalists and researchers since the 1980s, across Europe, North America and Australasia. Working on the principle that we can learn from success as well as failure, this book examines the processes as well as the outcomes, and critically assesses the likely reasons for success or failure. With contributions from leading researchers in the field, it is an important addition to the current debate on tackling this distressing problem.
Impetus for the intervention study, early stages of planning, and funding Why is there bullying in schools? How should we try to reduce it? Our answers to the former question have implications for our ideas about the latter. The Finnish intervention project was inspired by the increasing literature, as well as our own studies, stressing the group nature of bullying. It has recently been pointed out, and also empirically shown, that peer bystanders play an important role in encouraging and maintaining bullying, and, therefore, they should also be targeted by intervention programmes (Cowie and Sharp, 1994; O’Connell, Pepler, and Craig, 1999; Olweus, 2001; Sutton and Smith, 1999; Stevens, Van Oost, and de Bourdeaudhuij, 2000). In our research group, the different participant roles the bystanders or students who are neither bullies nor victims take in the bullying process have been in the focus for several years (Salmivalli, 2001a; Salmivalli, Huttunen, and Lagerspetz, 1997; Salmivalli, Lagerspetz, Björkqvist, Österman, and Kaukiainen, 1996; Salmivalli, Lappalainen, and Lagerspetz, 1998; Salmivalli and Voeten, 2004). Our own studies, as well as the literature at large, point to the direction of trying to affect the bystanders’ reactions to bullying, and also to study such changes in a systematic way.
In an examination of factors associated with delinquent behaviour of adolescent school children, questionnaires were administered to students (N = 763) between the ages of 13 and 17 years attending a large coeducational high school in Australia. They answered questions anonymously to provide measures of (i) the extent to which they bullied their peers at school, (ii) their self-esteem and (iii) the frequency with which they engaged in delinquent activities. In general, girls reported less delinquent behaviour than boys. Among girls, but not boys, low levels of self-esteem were associated with reported bullying behaviour. However, results of multiple regression analyses, controlling for age, showed that for both sexes comparatively high levels of reported engagement in peer bullying and relatively low self-esteem were each independently and significantly associated with the measure of delinquent behaviour.
The Shared Concern method (SCm) has become a well- known tool for tackling actual group bullying amongst teenagers by individual talks. A decade after its launch to English readers the author reviews the original approach and describes new developments. The psychological mechanisms of healing in the bully group and what hinders the bully therapist in eliciting them have become better clarified. It is expressed in terms of know-how: (1) do not demonize the bully suspects; (2) consider the bullying as a conflict between the parties and elicit the archetype of a mediator through your behaviour; (3) prepare the summit meeting between those involved by shuttle- diplomacy and (4) seal the agreement with a communication contract. The most important recent advancement of the SCm approach is its capacity to discover clandestine bullying: when a bully therapist has acquired routines in solving actual cases with SCm he or she is capable of guiding a discussion with a teenage class about the methods to deal with bullying with the result that the class entrusts conflicts including bullying to the bully therapist for mediation. Information about this mediation-centred treatment is spread amongst the students, improving the school atmosphere and introducing a model for conflict resolution for future citizens.
Bully/victim problems at school have recently become the object of some high‐profile attention in Scotland. Currently the emphasis is on whole school policies and on awareness raising. This may result in higher reporting rates of bullying incidents but it does not necessarily equip school staff with effective intervention strategies designed specifically for asymmetric conflicts like group bullying. The Shared Concern Method (SCM) devised by Professor Anatol Pikas in Sweden has been introduced into one region and is having positive effects. The method facilitates better communication between bullies and victims and allows the young people to negotiate more satisfactory relationships. Unlike traditional disciplinary methods SCM benefits both victims and bullies.
Advice to schools on countering bullying has emphasised the need for a whole school approach. This implies close collaboration between students and teachers. Little attention, however, has been paid to how students view the prospects of such collaboration. Two student surveys (n=7091 and n=632) were conducted among Australian adolescent schoolchildren, average age 14 years. The results suggest that approximately 40% of the students believed that teachers were not usually interested in taking action to stop bullying and a similar proportion were either opposed or unsure whether they should collaborate. Multiple regression analysis indicated that students who were more involved in bully/victim encounters as either as bullies or as victims were more likely than others to disparage the conflict resolution skills of teachers. In addition, bullies were particularly inclined to judge teachers as unfair in their behaviour toward students. The implications of these findings for the implementation of whole school approaches to conflict and bullying and for teacher education are discussed.
In this chapter, the authors focus on bullying in school, outlining their own approach to intervention as well as those of others. They point out that it is only recently that educational psychologists have emerged from being users of tests and assessments to being more fully involved in trying to solve some wider problems arising in schools, such as bullying. They begin by explaining bullying as sustained acts of aggression over time, involving a complex relationship between the bully, the victim and the 'onlookers.' The onlookers are significant in the process since they have the choice to either intervene, or, in effect, collude in the aggression being directed towards the victim. Many schools and local education authorities have begun to take the problem seriously, seeking and implementing whole-school policies in an attempt to remedy the situation. Most of these initiatives emphasise understanding the complex processes involved and avoiding labelling of those involved. Their own 'no blame' approach deals with bullying through teacher discussion with both bully and victim, as well as wider group (pupil) discussion, with the final responsibility for a solution handed over to the pupils themselves. They also stress the importance of parental involvement. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)