Research: what can we do to prevent bullying?

Preventing and responding to bullying at work: for persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs)

(2017, March). Wellington: Worksafe.

These guidelines are an update to the 2014 guidelines Preventing and Responding to Workplace Bullying. The update was initiated due to the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA). External feedback (such as the research commissioned by the Healthy Work Group at Massey University and the New Zealand Work Research Institute at AUT University, and the feedback sought during targeted consultation) was used to inform the changes.

Harden up and face reality: Exploring underlying bullying beliefs in New Zealand

Balanovic, J., Stuart, J., & Jeffrey, J. (2018, online 2016, August). Journal of School Violence, 17(1), 46-57.

A growing body of research illustrating the detrimental consequences of bullying has led to many anti-bullying interventions being developed. Despite good intentions, evidence suggests that such programs vary considerably in their efficacy. The current study examines the social discourse around bullying in the New Zealand environment in order to see whether underlying beliefs may undermine or influence approaches to mitigate bullying.

Change of school playground environment on bullying: A randomized controlled trial

Farmer, V. L., Williams, S. M., & Mann, J. I., et al. (2017, May). Pediatrics, 139(5), pii: e20163072.

Few negative outcomes were reported by children or parents, except for greater pushing/shoving in intervention schools. Whether this indicates increased resilience as indicated by lower reporting of bullying to teachers may be an unanticipated benefit.

The role of family and school-level factors in bullying and cyberbullying: A cross-sectional study

Bevilacqua, L., Shackleton, N., & Hale, D., et al. (2017, July 11). BMC Pediatrics, 17(1), 160. doi: 10.1186/s12887-017- 0907-8.

Bullying victimization and cyberbullying prevalence vary across school type and school quality, supporting the hypothesis that organisational/management factors within the school may have an impact on students' behaviour. These findings will inform future longitudinal research investigating which school factors and processes promote or prevent bullying and cyberbullying behaviours.

Finding a balance—fostering student wellbeing, positive behaviour, and learning. Findings from the NZCER national survey of primary and intermediate schools 2016

Boyd, S., Bonne, L., & Berg, M. (2017). NZCER.

Related to students’ mental and emotional wellbeing is the issue of bullying behaviour. Teachers’ and principals’ reports suggest that more than 10% of schools did not have a clear school-wide process for addressing bullying behaviour. In a further 30% of schools, these systems were partially embedded, suggesting an area for additional support. Just over half of schools (56%) had a well embedded safe reporting system for students.

Infographic: Making a difference to student wellbeing

Lawes, E., & Boyd, S. (2017). NZCER.

This research summary aims to give schools practical ideas about ways to enhance student wellbeing and decrease aggressive and bullying behaviours.

A preliminary evaluation of KiVa after one-year of implementation in New Zealand

Green, V. A., Wegerhoff, D., & Woods, L. et al. (2017, April). Wellington: Victoria University.

To summarise, the implementation of KiVa over one year is associated with an increase in the percentage of students not bullied at school (increasing 10.5% to 58.3%) and the percentage of students not bullied over the internet (increasing 5.4% to 83.3%). In addition, fewer students are engaging in bullying behaviour, with the number of people not bullying increasing by 9.7% to 84.3%. There has also been a 5-point increase in the percentage of students feeling completely safe at school, with 54.9% of students feeling safe after one year of KiVa.

Workplace bullying complaints: Lessons for “good HR practice"

Catley, B., Blackwood, K., & Forsyth, D. (2017). Personnel Review, 46(1), 100-114.

This paper draws on a novel data source to provide a holistic model of the complaint management process related to workplace bullying which details the various components and challenges related to HRP throughout the process. Alongside advancing theory, this research has practical value for improving HR practice.

Harden up and face reality: Exploring underlying bullying beliefs in New Zealand

Balanovic, J., Stuart, J., & Jeffrey, J. (2017, July). Journal of School Violence, published online, 1-12.

The study examines the social discourse around bullying in the New Zealand environment in order to see whether underlying beliefs may undermine or influence approaches to mitigate bullying.

Inside Out Evaluation Report

Fenaughty, J. (2016). Auckland: Curative.

School can be a challenging environment for LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, intersex) young people. Inside Out is a set of video resources and teaching guides that aim to reduce bullying and increase understanding and empathy. This freely-available resource has been very positively received by young people, educators and youth workers. The evaluation found the resource is meeting a real need for information about sex and gender diversity in schools.

Bullying: An ecological approach to intervention in schools

Hornby, G. (2016). Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth, 60(3), 222-230.

In this article it is proposed that, in order to effectively prevent or substantially reduce bullying in schools, a systemic approach needs to be adopted, with interventions organised at various levels.

Workplace bullying 

Darby, F. & Beck, K. (2016). Thomson Reuters.

Bullying is a major, but often unacknowledged problem in New Zealand’s workplaces. However, recent developments in employment and health and safety law make it a problem that no one in the workplace can afford to ignore. This book deals with bullying in New Zealand’s workplaces in a way that is both educational and practical. Read a review.

Cyber safety for an indigenous youth population

McClintock, K., McClintock, R., & Brown, T. (2016). Te Kīwai Rangahau, Te Rau Matatini.

The main focus of this report is to explore the current research relevant to providing better information for Māori whānau about social media and the encouragement to be involved with their tamariki in their internet use. An international and national search of applicable documents discussing social media, cyberbullying and cybersafety strategies provides the foundation of this report.

Risk and protective factors of bullying and victimisation in New Zealand adolescents: A qualitative and quantitative inquiry

Kljakovic, M. (2015). Thesis, University of Sydney.

Collectively, the findings add to the body of literature regarding bullying and victimisation theory, predictors, within New Zealand, across time and in adolescents. This thesis also adds to the literature by examining the relationship between bullying and victimisation as well as the different types of cyber and traditional bullying and victimisation.

Educating for diversity: An evaluation of a sexuality diversity workshop to address secondary school bullying 

Lucassen, M.F. & Burford, J. (2015, October 23). Australas Psychiatry, 23(5),544-9.

Sexuality-based bullying is commonplace in secondary schools. This form of bullying is associated with depression and suicide attempts. Reducing sexuality-based bullying is very likely to have a positive impact on the mental health of young people. Brief workshops, as a part of a wider suite of interventions, have some potential to create safer school environments.

School climate and aggression among New Zealand high school students

Marsh, L., McGee, R., &., Williams, S. (2014). New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 43(1), 28-37.

Student perceptions of relationships with their teachers and peers, and parental involvement with school were all significantly interrelated. The quality of teacher-student relationships was the strongest predictor of school climate, which in turn predicted both aggressive behaviour and proaggressive attitudes. This research suggests that improving teacher-student relationships may have the greatest impact in reducing physically aggressive behaviours and attitudes in schools.

We were sad and we were angry: A systematic review of parents' perspectives on bullying

Harcourt, S., Jasperse, M., & Green, V.A. (2014, June). Child & Youth Care Forum, 43(3), 373-391.

Parents’ experiences with bullying are varied and diverse. However, parents consistently expressed the need for targeted information and guidelines on how to deal with bullying. Furthermore, greater awareness and understanding of bullying among parents is necessary, along with the acknowledgement of shared responsibility for bullying, and greater collaboration between schools and families.

What works for bullying programs: Lessons from experimental evaluations of programs and interventions

Lawner, E.K., & Terzian, M.A. (2013, October). Child Trends Research Brief.

Programmes that involve parents were generally found to be effective. Programmes that use a whole-school approach to foster a safe and caring school climate, by training all teachers, administrators, and school counsellors to model and reinforce positive behaviour and anti-bullying messages throughout the school year, were generally found to be effective. Researchers found mixed results for programmes that included social and emotional learning, such as self-awareness, relationship skills or responsible decision-making.

Effectiveness of relationship education programmes in schools for Years 7–13: A rapid literature review prepared for The Families Commission

International evidence reviews have indicated that school-based relationship violence prevention programmes are one of the few strategies with proven evidence for preventing intimate partner violence. The Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (SuPERU) within the Families Commission commissioned a rapid review of the evidence and relevant literature on what works in school-based relationship education programmes both within New Zealand and internationally for Years 7–13.

Bullying prevention and mental wellbeing

This Mental Health Foundation paper highlights the importance of positive relationships to mental wellbeing and explores evidence‐based approaches which work towards reducing bullying, creating respectful behaviours and increasing our ability to flourish.

Effectiveness of anti-bullying school programmes: A systematic review by evidence levels

Jimenez Barbero, J.A., et al. (2012, September). Children and Youth Services Review, 34(9), 1646–1658.

Researchers found evidence of the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing bullying. There is a great heterogeneity in the design of such school interventions. The most used outcome measures are related to attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. Social and cultural factors are not taken into account when designing the programs. Interventions are most successful when they involve parents, teachers and students.

“Being a part of a national movement towards positive change is such a powerful feeling. That we are all working towards making young people feel good about who they are, right across New Zealand.”

Pink Shirt Day participant