Intervention for aggressive victims of school bullying in Hong Kong: A longitudinal mixed-methods study


Annis Lai-chu Fung, Associate Professor, Department of Applied Social Studies, City University of Hong Kong, Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Tel: (852) 3442 2923; fax: (852) 3442 0283; e-mail:


Fung, A. L-C. (2012). Intervention for aggressive victims of school bullying in Hong Kong: A longitudinal mixed-methods study. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 53, 360–367.

The distinction between aggressive and passive victims of school bullying is well documented. Aggressive victims exhibit restlessness and hot-temperedness, are easily provoked, and take revenge when irritated, whereas passive victims are quiet and timid when attacked or insulted and withdraw rather than retaliate. To date, there has been no evidence-based evaluative study examining interventions designed specifically to reduce aggressive victimization, and neither has there been an inclusive assessment screening of high-risk aggressive victims prior to intervention. This study addressed these research gaps by employing multi-stage assessment procedures and a mixed-mode methodology in a one-year longitudinal design. Data were collected from student self-reports, parent and teacher rating scales, and individual structured interviews with students, parents and teachers. A total of 269 potential high-risk aggressive victims were identified from among 5,089 schoolchildren, 68 of whom were screened out and randomly assigned to 10 treatment groups, with 39 completing a one-year follow-up study. Multivariate analysis of variance identified significant improvements in physical and verbal victimization (F(2,47, 93.99) = 10.73, < 0.01), verbal victimization (F(2.74, 104.14) = 12.80, < 0.01) and social exclusion scores at the three follow-up assessments compared to the pre-treatment scores, and the qualitative results were consistent, showing participants’ cognition, emotion, and behavior to have been positively reconstructed by the group intervention. The consistent quantitative and qualitative results confirm that the cognitive-behavioral group therapy program reported herein is effective in reducing aggressive victims’ anxious and depressed emotions and reactive cognition.