Verbal Bullying Changes Among Students Following an Educational Intervention Using the Integrated Model for Behavior Change
Bullying behavior in schools can lead to psychosocial problems. School-based interventions are important in raising student awareness, developing their skills and in planning to reduce bullying behavior. The study findings indicate that a school-based intervention can positively impact on verbal bullying experiences and behavior. The intervention program comprised weekly modules to address gender-based violence and bullying and was piloted in 2 schools prior to the RCT. Each module had specific objectives and the class room activities varied. These comprised small and large group discussions, role plays, videos (professionally made with local content), an innovative cartoon story (used to promote discussion) and creative drawing.
A randomized controlled trial, using a school-based educational intervention to reduce verbal bullying, was conducted among grade 10 students in 16 urban and rural schools in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa in 2013. Baseline and post-intervention questionnaires, developed using the Integrated Model for Behavior Change theoretical model, were used to assess changes in verbal bullying.
Post-intervention there were reduced verbal bullying experiences. Improved social norms and awareness of verbal bullying were associated with reduced verbal bullying experiences and behavior. Although less likely to bully others verbally, girls were more likely to experience verbal bullying. Students with no living father were more likely to bully others verbally.