Volume 41, Issue 1 (2012)
A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Bullying Prevention Programs' Effects on Bystander Intervention Behavior
Joshua R. Polanin, Dorothy L. Espelage, & Therese D. Pigott
Abstract. This meta-analysis synthesized bullying prevention programs' effectiveness at increasing bystander intervention in bullying situations. Evidence from 12 school-based programs, involving 12,874 students, indicated that overall the programs were successful (Hedges's g = .20, 95% confidence interval [CI] = .11 to .29, p = .001), with larger effects for high school (HS) samples compared to kindergarten through eighth-grade (K-8) student samples (HS effect size [ES] = 0.43, K-8 ES = 0.14; p < .05). A secondary synthesis from eight of the studies that reported empathy for the victim revealed treatment effectiveness that was positive but not significantly different from zero (g = .05, 95% CI= -.07 to .17, p = .45). Nevertheless, this meta-analysis indicated that programs increased bystander intervention both on a practical and statistically significant level. These results suggest that researchers and school administrators should consider implementing programs that focus on bystander intervention behavior supplementary to bullying prevention programs.
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