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School-based Anti-bullying Interventions Reduce Violence and Improve Mental Health

The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recommends school-based anti-bullying interventions to reduce bullying experiences and improve mental health among students. A systematic review of 69 studies shows that when interventions are implemented in schools, students report fewer episodes of bullying perpetration, fewer episodes of bullying victimization, and fewer mental health symptoms such as anxiety and depression.

A team of specialists in systematic review methods and violence prevention research, practice, and policy selected and evaluated the following published review:

Fraguas D, Diaz-Caneja CM, Ayora M, Duran-Cutilla M, Abregu-Crespo R, et al. Assessment of school anti-bullying interventions: a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. JAMA Pediatrics 2021;175(1):44-55.

What are School-based Anti-bullying Interventions?

School-based antibullying interventions aim to prevent bullying experiences among students inside and outside of school. Interventions provide group education sessions for students, training and consultation to school staff, or both. Student sessions may enhance interpersonal and emotional skills, such as communication, problem-solving, empathy, and emotional awareness and regulation. School staff may be trained to deliver student sessions and implement evidence-based anti-bullying policies and practices. Interventions may focus on traditional face-to-face bullying, cyberbullying, or both.

Why is This Important?

Bullying is widespread in the United States. In 2019, about one in five high school students reported being bullied on school property, and more than one in six reported being bullied electronically within the previous year.1 Bullying can result in physical injury, social and emotional distress, self-harm, and even death. It also increases the risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, lower academic achievement, and dropping out of school. Youth who bully others are at increased risk for substance misuse, academic problems, and experiencing violence later in adolescence and adulthood.2

For More Information:

References

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2019. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report--Surveillance Summaries 2020; 69(SS1)

2Farrington D, Baldry A. Individual risk factors for school bullying. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research 2010; 2(1):4-16.