Tackling acute cases of school bullying in the KiVa anti-bullying program: A comparison of two approaches
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences
Whether cases of bullying should be handled in a direct, condemning mode or in a manner that does not involve blaming the perpetrator is a controversial issue among school professionals. This study compares the effectiveness of a Confronting Approach where the bully is openly told that his behavior must cease immediately to a Non-Confronting Approach where the adult shares his concern about the victim with the bully and invites him to provide suggestions on what could improve the situation. We analysed 339 cases of bullying involving 314 children from grades 1 to 9 (mean age=11.95). Cases were handled in 65 schools as part of the implementation of the KiVa anti-bullying program. In each school, a team of three teachers addressed cases coming to their attention by organizing discussions with the bullies using either a Confronting or a Non-Confronting Approach; schools were randomly assigned to one of the two conditions. Victims reported that bullying stopped in 78 % of the cases. Logistic regression analyses indicated that neither approach was overall more effective than the other, controlling for grade level, duration of victimization and type of aggression. The Confronting Approach worked better than the Non-Confronting Approach in secondary school (grades 7 to 9), but not in primary school (grades 1 to 6). The Confronting Approach was more successful than the Non-Confronting Approach in cases of short-term victimization, but not in cases of long-term victimization. The type of aggression used did not moderate the effectiveness of either approach.