Brooks, Jenny Van Overbeke
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The present study sought to examine the effectiveness of a bullying and victimization intervention and prevention program, Bully Busters: A Teacher’s Manual for Helping Bullies, Victims, and Bystanders (Grades K-5) manual (Horne, Bartolomucci, & Newman-Carlson, 2003), a manual intended to provide teachers with the knowledge and skills to work with their students to prevent and intervene in bullying related incidents. The program was implemented in two urban elementary schools in the southeastern region of the United States. A total of 15 third through fifth grade teachers and 220 of their students participated in this study. Participating teachers (n=15) attended a staff development training on the foundation and use of the manual, implemented the 8 modules of the manual, and were involved in support groups. For evaluation purposes, teachers completed five instruments; the Behavior Assessment System for Children - Teacher Rating Scale – Child Version (BASC-TRS-C) – Screener Short- Form (Kamphaus et al., 2002), the BASC-TRS Aggression Scale (Reynolds & Kamphaus, 1992), Teacher Information, Skills and Knowledge – Elementary (TISK-E) (Horne et al., 2003), a report of frequency of bullying incidents, and the Teacher Efficacy and Attribution Measure (TEAM) (Horne, Socherman, & Dagley, 1998). The impact of the implementation of the Bully Buster program on the students was examined using a student self-report of bullying, victimization, and fighting (Bosworth & Espleage, 1999). The research design for this study was an exploratory pre-test/post-test, non-randomized evaluation. A total of 17 null hypotheses were derived from the seven research questions developed to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the Bully Busters invention and prevention program in positively impacting bullying. The overall results of the intervention for teachers produced positive results on the teachers’ general development and use of bullying intervention and prevention skills and on their self-efficacy in working with bullies and victims. However, teachers indicated a trend towards an increase in observed bullying incidents. In addition, the general results of the intervention for students did not yield positive results across the overall student sample. Teachers’ perceived an increase in aggressive behaviors and students perceived their own behaviors and perspectives as relatively constant in terms of their self-reports of victimization and their engagement in fighting behaviors, with the exception of an overall decrease in their own self-reports of engagement in bullying related behaviors. In general, the findings of the Bully Busters program indicate effectiveness in increasing teachers’ knowledge and use of bullying prevention and intervention skills and their self-efficacy in working with bullies and victims; however the impact on student behavior was minimal.