Prejudice and effective anti-bullying intervention: Evidence from the bullying of "minorities"
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The tradition of research into school bullying, and the development of anti-bullying intervention programmes in Norway, has had a significant influence upon similar efforts being made in other countries. However, recent evaluations of the effectiveness of school-based anti-bullying interventions have revealed mixed and most often modest levels of success. This in turn has led to suggestions being made in Norway that rather than to continue support for a direct approach to the issue of school bullying, making improvements in the "learning environment" should be prioritized; however, it is argued here that there is, as yet, no body of direct evidence to directly confirm that position. Instead, it is contended that research into school bullying has been limited to the conceptualization of bullying as being purely a sub-set of aggression, and that anti-bullying intervention has been, consequently, focused largely on purely behaviour management solutions. From recent studies on specific forms of bullying of minority groups (lesbian, gay and bisexual young people, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities or special educational needs and members of alternative sub-cultures), it appears that prejudice is at least influential on specific patterns of bullying behaviour, but has not received sufficient attention in either the conceptualization of bullying or the design of programmes to prevent and counter it. Hence, rather than scaling down direct anti-bullying intervention efforts, it is suggested that subsequent research and programme design could be re-focused in order to give a greater consideration to prejudice as an underlying factor. © 2014 The Editors of Nordic Psychology.
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