Naturalistic Observations of Peer Interventions in Bullying

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Abstract

This study examined peer intervention in bullying using naturalistic observations on school playgrounds. The sample comprised 58 children (37 boys and 21 girls) in Grades 1 to 6 who were observed to intervene in bullying. Peers were present during 88% of bullying episodes and intervened in 19%. In 47% of the episodes, peers intervened aggressively. Interventions directed toward the bully were more likely to be aggressive, whereas interventions directed toward the victim or the bully-victim dyad were more likely to be nonaggressive. The majority (57%) of interventions were effective in stopping bullying. Boys were more likely to intervene when the bully and victim were male and girls when the bully and victim were female. The implications for anti-bullying interventions are discussed.

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