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Bullying and Antisocial Behavior: Analysis of Bullying Research and Recommended Practices


Bullying and Antisocial Behavior: Analysis of Bullying Research and Recommended Practices Richard P. West Ph.D. Executive Director Center for the School of the Future – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Bullying and Antisocial Behavior: Analysis of Bullying Research and Recommended Practices

Bullying and Antisocial BehaviorAnalysis of
Bullying Research and Recommended Practices
  • Richard P. West Ph.D.
  • Executive Director
  • Center for the School of the Future
  • Utah State University

What Problems do We Face in Todays Schools
  • Problem behavior in schools is increasing in
    frequency and intensity.
  • School-wide discipline systems are unclear and
    inconsistently implemented.
  • Educators rely on reactive and crisis management
    interventions to solve chronic behavior problems.
  • Teachers are being asked to do more with less,
    and to teach when students display severe problem
  • Students have limited structured opportunities to
    learn social skills and to receive feedback on
    their use of these social skills.
  • Alternative placements are becoming more
    difficult to find.

Sugai, 1997
  • The world is too big for us. Too much is going
    on. Too many crimes, too much violence and
    excitement. Try as you will, you get behind in
    the race in spite of yourself. It is an
    incessant strain to keep pace, and still you lose
    ground. Science empties its discoveries on you
    so fast you stagger beneath them in hopeless
    bewilderment. Everything is high-pressure. Human
    nature cant endure much more.
  • Editorial in the Atlantic Journal, June 16, 1833.

  • Bullying occurs when a student or group of
    students targets an individual repeatedly over
    time, using physical or psychological aggression
    to dominate the victim
  • (Hoover Oliver, 1996 Rigby, 1995 USDOE, 1998)

Bullying can contribute to an environment of fear
and intimidation in schools (Arnette Walsleben,
1998 Ericson, 2001)
BULLYING Key Features
  • Intent to harm
  • Repeated harmful acts
  • Power imbalance between bully and victims

What Does it Look Like?
  • Physical aggression
  • (e.g. fighting, etc.)
  • Relational aggression
  • (e.g. social exclusion, injuring the reputation
    of another person)
  • Verbal harassment or intimidation
  • (e.g. threats, psychological intimidation)
  • Cyber-bullying
  • (e.g. insulting websites, embarrassing photos
    posted online, text messages)

Some Data
  • 160,000 students miss school every day due to
    fear of attack or intimidation by a bully (Fried
    Fried, 1996)
  • Approximately 20 percent of students report being
    scared throughout much of the school day
    (Garrity, et al., 1997)
  • 60 of boys who were bullies in middle school had
    at least one criminal conviction by the age of 24
    (Olweus, 1993)
  • Bullying is the best predictor of adult
    criminality (Silvernail, Thompson, Yang, Kopp,

Who are the Bullies?
  • Poorer academic skills and grades
  • Lacking in empathy
  • Cognitive distortions
  • Belief that aggression solves problems
  • Increased risk for substance abuse later
    criminal behavior
  • Increasingly unpopular with peers as they get
  • Come from coercive/aggressive homes
  • Inconsistent ineffective discipline
  • Physically larger, especially in early grades

Who are the Victims?
  • Physically smaller or weaker
  • Anxious, fearful, insecure, depressed, poor
  • School avoidance, including dropping out
  • More likely to bring weapons to school for revenge

A disturbing element of some high profile school
shootings in the United States during the past
few years has been that some of these youthful
shooters were repeat victims of bullying and peer
harassment, were unpopular, and they ultimately
went on a shooting spree as a way of exacting
revenge. Merrell, Gueldner, Ross, Isava (in
press) School Psychology Quarterly
School Bullying
  • Bullying is one form of violence that seems to
    have increased in recent years, although it is
    not clear if the increase reflects more incidents
    of bullying at school or perhaps greater
    aware-ness of bullying as a problem.

US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice
Statistics, School Crime Supplement to the
National Crime Victimization Survey, Indicators
of School Crime and Safety, 2003, NCES
Rates of Bullying and Other School Discipline
  • Student bullying is one of the most frequently
    reported discipline problems at school 26 of
    elementary schools, 43 of middle schools, and
    25 of high schools reported problems with
    bullying in 1999-2000

US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice
Statistics, School Crime Supplement to the
National Crime Victimization Survey, Indicators
of School Crime and Safety, 2003, NCES
Middle Schools
  • Bullying occurs at all ages, but tends to peak
    during the middle school years
  • Hazler, 1996 Rios-Ellis, Bellamy, Shoji, 2000

Bullying Recent Trends
  • In recent years, fewer than 1 in 10 students
    reported they had been bullied at school in last
    6 months.
  • Although percentages increased from 1999 (5) to
    2001 (8), no differences were detected between
    2001 and 2003

NOTE In the 1999 survey, at school was defined
as in the school building, on the school grounds,
or on a school bus. In the 2001 and 2003
surveys, at school was defined as in the school
building, on school property, on a school bus, or
going to and from school. See appendix A for
more information. SOURCE U.S. Department of
Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, School
Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime
Victimization Survey, 199, 2001, and 2003.
Recent Data Further Analysis
  • White students were more likely than Hispanic
    students to report being bullied (8 to 6)
  • Grade level is inversely related to bullying
  • Public school students more likely to be bullied
    than private

NOTE At School was defined as in the school
building, on school property, on a school bus, or
going to and from school. SOURCE U.S.
Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice
Statistics, School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the
National Crime Victimization Survey, 2003.
Boys vs. Girls
  • Both boys and girls bully some research
    indicates that boys bully more often, but this
    may have to do with how bullying is defined.
  • Boys tend to use more physical aggression while
    bullying by girls often takes the form of teasing
    and social exclusion (Hoover Oliver, 1996)

Are Bullying Prevention and Intervention Programs
  • Although anti-bullying interventions appear to
    be useful in increasing awareness, knowledge, and
    self-perceived competency in dealing with
    bullying, it should not be expected that these
    interventions will dramatically impact the
    incidence of actual bullying and victimization
    behaviors, or that they will positively impact
    even a majority of the targeted outcomes. In
    fact, our evidence indicates that the majority of
    targeted outcomes in school bullying
    interverventions may not be significantly
    impacted, either positively or negatively.
  • Merrell, Gueldner, Ross, Isava (in press)
    School Psychology Quarterly

Bullying is a symptom of a much larger problem of
antisocial behavior
Antisocial Behavior
  • Recurrent violations of socially prescribed
    patterns of behavior
  • Hostility, aggression, defiance, willingness to
    violate rules
  • Aversive to others
  • Deviation from accepted rules and expected
  • Deviance across a range of settings

Antisocial Behavior Facts and Findings
  • Involves more boys than girls
  • Identified at 3 or 4 years of age
  • Early antisocial behavior predicts adolescent
  • Antisocial behavior persisting beyond third grade
    is chronic problem
  • Antisocial children are at risk for long term
  • 70 of youth arrested within 3 yrs. of leaving

Index crimes include murder, rape, robbery,
aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor
vehicle theft, and arson. Utah's total index
crime rate in 2004 was 4,322, a 4.1 decrease
over the 2003 rate of 4,506. ??Utah's rate has
paralleled the national rate over the past 40
years. In 2001, Utah's rate was marginally higher
than the national rate, a gap that is widening
through 2003 and 2004. Utah's higher than average
larceny rate, which accounts for nearly
three-quarters of the total index crime rate,
drives our total rate higher than the national
Common Individual and System Responses to
Problem Behavior
  • Clamp down on rule violators
  • Extend continuum of aversive consequences
  • Improve consistency of use of punishment
  • Establish bottom line
  • In-school suspension
  • Zero tolerance policies
  • Security guards, student uniforms, metal
    detectors, surveillance cameras
  • Suspension/Expulsion
  • Exclusionary options (e.g. Alternative programs)

According to Research, the LEAST EFFECTIVE
responses to problem behavior are
  • Counseling
  • Psychotherapy
  • Punishment (Gottfredson,1997 Lipsey, 1991
    Lipsey Wilson, 1993 Tolan Guerra, 1994)
  • Exclusion is the most common response for
    conduct-disordered, juvenile delinquent, and
    behaviorally disordered youth (Lane Murakami,
    1987) but it is largely ineffective.

Why Then, Do We Educators, Resource Officers, and
Counselors Employ These Procedures?
  • When WE experience aversive situations, we
    select interventions that produce immediate
    (rather than sustained) relief. We tend to focus
    on our concerns, not the students.
  • Remove the student.
  • Remove ourselves.
  • Modify the physical environment.
  • Assign responsibility for change to student /or

What results from these responses?
  • Punishing problem behaviors without a school-wide
    system of support is associated with increased
  • aggression
  • vandalism
  • truancy
  • tardiness
  • dropping out (Mayer, 1995 Mayer
    Sulzer-Azaroff, 1991)
  • Fosters environments of control
  • Occasions reinforces antisocial behavior
  • Shifts ownership away from school
  • Weakens child-adult relationship
  • Weakens relationship between academic social
    behavior programming

Gallup survey on work satisfaction
  • For Employees
  • I know what is expected of me at work.
  • I have the materials and equipment I need to do
    my job right.
  • In the last seven days, I have received
    recognition or praise for doing good work.
  • My supervisor or someone at work, seems to care
    about me as a person.
  • There is someone at work who encourages my
  • The mission/purpose of my company makes me feel
    my job is important.
  • What if We Reword it for Students
  • I know what is expected of me at school.
  • I have the academic and social skills I need to
  • At school today, I received recognition or praise
    for doing good work or behaving appropriately.
  • My teacher or someone at school seems to care
    about me as a person.
  • There is someone at school who encourages my
  • The mission/purpose of the school makes my effort
    seem important.

What the Worlds Greatest Managers Do
Differently -- Buckingham Coffman 2002,
GallupInterviews with 1 million workers, 80,000
managers, in 400 companies.
According to Research, the MOST EFFECTIVE
responses to problem behavior are
  • Social skills training
  • Academic and curricular restructuring
  • Behavioral interventions(Gottfredson, 1997
    Lipsey, 1991, 1992 Lipsey Wilson, 1993 Tolan
    Guerra, 1994)

High Risk
5 of Students
Moderate Risk
15 of Students
Low Risk
80 of Students
Schimmer Sugai, Nov. 2003
Academic Success/Social Competence
Specialized Individualized Systems for Students
with High-Risk Behavior
Specialized Group Systems for Students with
At-Risk Behavior
Schimmer Sugai, Nov. 2003
Office Referrals
14 per day
11 per day
10 per day
As of March 24th
Level 1 Violations by Individuals
Level 2 Violations by Individuals
Total Level 1 Violations by Groups
At-Risk students, in this case, are identified as
having 5 or more violations
Level 1 Violations by At-Risk Groups
Violations by Location
Categories of Risk and Protective Factors
  1. Individual
  2. Peer
  3. Family
  4. Community
  5. School

Individual Risk Factors
  • Alienation and Rebelliousness
  • Favorable Attitudes Toward the Problem Behavior
  • Early Initiation of the Problem Behavior
  • Certain Physical, Emotional or Personality Traits
  • Lack of Social Competence

Individual Protective Factors
  • Sense Of Well-Being/Self Confidence
  • Negative Attitudes Toward Problem Behavior
  • Positive Future Plans
  • Social Competence

Peer Risk Factors
  • Friends Who Engage in the Problem Behavior
  • Less Involved in Recreational, Social and
    Cultural Activities

Peer Protective Factors
  • Bonding To Pro-Social Culture
  • Youth Involvement In Alternative Activities

Family Risk Factors
  • Family History With Problem Behavior
  • Family Management Problems
  • Family Conflict
  • Favorable Parental Attitudes or Involvement in
    Problem Behavior
  • Family Members Don't Spend Much Time Together
  • Lack Of Parental Supervision
  • Lack Of Clear Expectations, Limits And

Family Protective Factors
  • Close Family Relationships
  • Consistency Of Parenting
  • Copes With Stress In A Positive Way
  • Education Is Valued, Encouraged, And Parents Are
  • Share Family Responsibilities, Including Chores
    And Decision Making
  • Family Members Are Nurturing And Support Each
  • Clear Expectations, Limits And Consequences

Community Risk Factors
  • Alcohol And Other Drugs Readily Available
  • Laws And Ordinances Are Unclear Or Inconsistently
  • Norms Are Unclear
  • Residents Feel Little Sense Of "Connection" To
  • Neighborhood Disorganization
  • High Mobility
  • Extreme Economic Deprivation
  • Lack Of Strong Social Institutions
  • Lack Of Monitoring Youths' Activities
  • Inadequate Media Portrayals

Community Protective Factors
  • Community Service Opportunities Available For
  • Laws And Ordinances Are Consistently Enforced
  • Informal Social Control
  • Opportunities Exist For Community Involvement
  • Positive Relationships with Other Adults
  • Strong Religious or Social Composition
  • Resources (Housing, Healthcare, Childcare, Jobs,
    Recreation, Etc.) Are Available
  • Neighbors Share Responsibility for Monitoring

School Risk Factors
  • Lack Of Clear Expectations, Both Academic And
  • Lack Of Commitment Or Sense Of Belonging At
  • Academic Failure
  • Parents And Community Members Not Actively

School Protective Factors
  • Communicates High Academic And Behavioral
  • Encourages Goal-Setting, Academic Achievement And
    Positive Social Development
  • Positive Attitudes Toward School
  • Fosters Active Involvement Of Students, Parents
    And Community Members

Indicators of School Quality
Things We Can Change Combine with Things We
Cant Change

Alterable Variables
Unalterable Variables
to Produce Academic Achievement and Social
Web of Causation for Academic Achievement
Academic Achievement
Web of Causation for Social Competence
Social Competence
Web of Causation for Myocardial Infarction (Heart
Taken from Friedman, G. D. (1994). Primer of
Epidemiology (5th Ed.). New York McGraw-Hill,
Natural selection of metabolic adaptation to
Industrial society
Social pressures
Dietary excesses in saturated fat,
cholesterol, calories, salt
Personality emotional stress
Lack of exercise
Hereditary factors
Cigarette smoking
Coronary artery distribution
Diabetes or carbohydrate intolerance
Increased catecholamines
Thrombotic tendency
Significant coronary atherosclerosis
Deficiency in collateral circulation
Myocardial susceptibility
The authors note that Despite the apparent
complexity of this diagram, it is undoubtedly
an oversimplification and will certainly be
modified by further study. (p. 5).
Myocardial infarction
The Indicators of School Quality
  • Parent Support
  • Teacher Excellence
  • Instructional Quality
  • School Leadership
  • Student Commitment
  • School Safety
  • Resource Management

Areas of Risk
  1. Home Language Is English the primary language
    spoken at home?
  2. Neighborhood Stability Have you moved more than
    once in the past three years?
  3. Peer Associations Do you generally approve of
    your childs closest friends?
  4. Family Bonding Do your neighbors generally
    monitor their childrens activities?
  5. Community Affiliation Do you regularly attend
    community, social, or religious meetings?
  6. Academic Status Do you have a high school
  7. Economic Status Do you have Internet access at

ISQ and Academic Achievement
  • The variables measured by ISQ account for more
    than 80 of the variance of academic achievement
  • Even when risk is removed from the equation,
    the correlations between ISQ variables and
    achievement are statistically significant

Hierarchy of Risk
  • Economic Status
  • Community Affiliation
  • Family Bonding
  • Neighborhood Stability
  • Academic Status
  • Home Language
  • Peer Associations

Relationship between Risk and Academic
Achievement (Indicators of School Quality- ISQ)
  • Recent research has shown that the risk of youth
    developing patterns of various types of
    antisocial behavior, including the use of alcohol
    and other drugs, aggressive and violent behavior,
    and gang activity, can be lessened by developing
    certain protective assets and skills.
  • These include social and self-management skills,
    academic proficiency including reading, and
    improved relationships with family members and
    school personnel (Gardner Resnick, 1996
    Hawkins Catalano, 1992 Schorr, 1988 West,
    Young, Mitchem Calderella, 1998).

Parent Support
  1. Student achievement related to parent support is
    not limited to the early years, but is
    significant at all ages and grade levels.
  2. Children of involved parents achieve more,
    regardless of socioeconomic status, ethnic/racial
    background, or the parents education level.
  3. Children of involved parents have higher grades,
    test scores and better attendance, and they are
    more likely to graduate from high school and have
    greater enrollments in post-secondary education.

Parent Support
  1. When it comes to student behavior, children of
    involved parents exhibit more positive attitudes
    and behavior.
  2. Children of involved parents have fewer instances
    of alcohol use, violence, and antisocial behavior.

Nine Contextual Factors that Contribute to
Punitive School Environments and Promote
Antisocial Behavior
  • Low student involvement in school activities
  • Unclear rules for student deportment
  • Weak or inconsistent administrative support
  • Student academic failure
  • Student deficiency in social personal
    management skills
  • Problems discriminating prosocial antisocial
  • Consequences delivered inconsistently
  • Inadvertent reinforcement of antisocial behavior
  • Over reliance on punitive methods of control
    (Mayer, 1995 Similar to home-based contextual
    factors noted by Loeber, Stouthammer-Loeber
    Green, 1987 and Reid Patterson, 1991)

Assessing School Conditions and Actions
  • Inspect evidences
  • Be specific
  • Look carefully, review relevant history
  • Be honest
  • Compile evidences
  • Assign rating (can be done in a group)
  • Generally meet the standard (no
    contra-evidences or only 1 or 2 at most)
  • Occasionally meet the standard (several
  • Rarely meet the standard (occasional evidences)

Checklist of Contextual Factors
Clear Communication of Expectations for
  1. A well-written set of behavioral standards and
    expectations exists at this school
  2. The set of expectations is short (generally from
    5 to 7 items)
  3. Students were involved in the development,
    refinement, and communication of the standards of
  4. The behavioral expectations are statements of how
    to behave well, rather than what not to do
  5. Behavioral expectations are posted prominently
    throughout the school
  6. Behavioral expectations are emphasized in each
    classroom (e.g. explicitly taught, reminded, and
  7. Students are able to remember and repeat
    statements of behavioral expectations

Adapted from G. Roy Mayer (2001) California
State University,Los Angeles
Checklist of Contextual Factors
Relationships and Bonding
  1. Strong administrative support for staff exists
    (e.g. good teaching is recognized, faculty
    requests are acted upon promptly)
  2. Strong staff support for one another exists (e.g.
    staff confer with one another regarding
    instruction and discipline)
  3. Staff greet and help students feel welcome in the
  4. Staff interact with and show interest in students
    in various settings
  5. Staff have many more positive than negative
    interactions with students
  6. Students generally comply willingly with staff
    requests and instructions
  7. Students tend to hang around staff, engaging in
    conversations, etc.
  8. Staff are really well acquainted with each and
    every student, and are familiar with students
    personal characteristics, attributes, and

Adapted from G. Roy Mayer (2001) California
State University,Los Angeles
Checklist of Contextual Factors
Skill-Building Emphasis Academic, Social, and
Self-Management Skills
  1. The school assumes responsibility for learning of
    academic skills
  2. Curriculum in all areas is organized to emphasize
    active rather than passive responding, with many
    tailored opportunities for all students to
  3. Academic assignments are adjusted to students
    functional levels
  4. Sufficient additional academic support is
    provided to struggling students
  5. The school assumes responsibility for learning of
    social skills
  6. Social skills are identified and taught
    effectively emphasizing fluency and generalized
    performance in natural settings
  7. Failure to meet high expectations of performance
    is followed by individual intensive teaching
    rather than punishment
  8. Students receive explicit instruction and support
    in self-management

Adapted from G. Roy Mayer (2001) California State
University,Los Angeles
Checklist of Contextual Factors
Recognition of Appropriate Behavior
  1. Recognition is provided by the administration to
    students who meet the behavioral expectations
  2. Recognition is provided by classroom teachers to
    students who meet the behavioral expectations
  3. All students receive frequent and appropriate
    recognition for their accomplishments and efforts
    to meet high standards of good behavior
  4. At-Risk students receive more frequent and
    personalized (tailored) recognition for their
    efforts to meet high standards and expectations
    (in both academic and deportment)
  5. Evidences exist in this school of efforts to pay
    more attention to good behavior and success than
    to problem behavior and mistakes

Adapted from G. Roy Mayer (2001), California
State University,Los Angeles
  • It appears that changing these identified
    contextual factors not only can help prevent
    antisocial behavior, but also can help to create
    an environment more conducive to learning

G. Roy Mayer (2001) California State
University,Los Angeles
Achieving the Support of Parents
  • Effective Professional Communication
  • Communication to families is timely
  • Communication to families is culturally sensitive
  • Communication to families is professional

Achieving the Support of Parents
  • Professional Atmosphere at School
  • School staff members project a positive school
  • Visitors to the school know where to go and with
    whom to initiate contact
  • Parent/Teacher conferences respect the parents
  • Extracurricular events are well-managed and safe
  • Transportation activities are well supervised

Achieving the Support of Parents
  • Supporting Parents as First Educators in the Home
  • Parents know what is expected of them as first
    educators in the home
  • Parents are provided resources to succeed as
    educational role models
  • Parents are rewarded for their support

Positive Behavior Support(PBS)
  • Positive behavior support is an approach for
    teaching children appropriate behavior and
    providing the supports necessary to sustain that

PBS is
  • Not a specific practice or curriculumits
    general approach to preventing problem behavior.
  • Not limited to any particular group of
    studentsits for all students.
  • Not newits based on long history of behavioral
    practices and effective instructional design and

Four principles or components of our version of
  1. Communicate high academic and behavioral
    expectations to students
  2. Encourage positive relationships with adults
  3. Emphasize goal-setting, academic achievement and
    positive social development with a teaching
    emphasis (with accompanying low tolerances for
    mistakes and misbehavior)
  4. Reinforce and strengthen appropriate behavior

Prevention Plus Elements
Universal Targeted
All Students At Risk
Rules Values Common Language
Instructions Individual Negotiations Contracts
Clear Communication of Behavioral Expectations
System-wide Advisement Extra-Curricular Programs
Mentoring Relationship-building
Relationships and Bonding
  • Skill-Building Emphasis
  • Academic Skills
  • Social Skills
  • Self-management Skills

Expectations Modeling Practice Fluency Evaluation
Planned And Opportunistic Teaching
Praise Notes/Boards Recognition Programs Good
Behavior Game
Recognition for Appropriate Behavior
Instructive Praise
Social Skills Teaching Tactics
Four-Year Study in Two High-Risk Middle Schools
  • Students made unexpectedly large gains in
    academic achievement (nearly one-half standard
    deviation greater than average improvement).
  • Students recorded an average improvement of more
    than one standard deviation on teacher ratings of
    social competence.
  • Teachers rated students as having achieved
    significant reductions in antisocial behavior.
  • Students noted significant improvements in their
    own behavior.
  • Fights and suspensions were reduced by 69.
  • Safe school violations were reduced by 77.
  • Court referrals were reduced by 84.
  • Gang-related activities were reduced by 81.
  • (West, Young, Mitchem Calderella, 1998)

The Matching LawBehavior Occurs When
Behavior Occurs and is Sustained When Response
Effort and Reward are in Balance or MATCHED
No behavior OR Behavior Quickly
Extinguishes (Acquisition Problem)
Cost of Responding What We GIVE
Satiation, Rewards lose Value, and Responding is
not Durable (Production Problem)
Reward for Responding What We GET
The Horse WhispererIve heard you help people
with horse problems
  • Truth is, I help horses with people problems

Tom Booker, The Horse Whisperer 1998
  • Many teachers and administrators believe their
    schools need help with student behavior problems.
  • Truth is, our students need help with school
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