Risk and protective factors, longitudinal research, and bullying prevention



This chapter presents the results from two systematic/meta-analytic reviews of longitudinal studies on the association of school bullying (perpetration and victimization) with adverse health and criminal outcomes later in life. Significant associations between the two predictors and the outcomes are found even after controlling for other major childhood risk factors that are measured before school bullying. The results indicate that effective antibullying programs should be encouraged. They could be viewed as a form of early crime prevention as well as an early form of public health promotion. The findings from a systematic/meta-analytic review on the effectiveness of antibullying programs are also presented. Overall, school-based antibullying programs are effective, leading to an average decrease in bullying of 20 to 23 percent and in victimization of 17 to 20 percent. The chapter emphasizes the lack of prospective longitudinal research in the area of school bullying, which does not allow examination of whether any given factor (individual, family,. or social) is a correlate, a predictor, or a possible cause for bullying. This has important implications for future antibullying initiatives, as well as implications for the refinement of theories of school bullying. It is necessary to extend the framework of the traditional risk-focused approach by incorporating the notion of resiliency and investigating possible protective factors against school bullying and its negative consequences.