The authors of Youth Voice Project: Student Insights into Bullying and Peer Mistreatment discuss their findings.
What is unique about your latest book, Youth Voice Project: Student Insights into Bullying and Peer Mistreatment?
This book comes from a collaboration between an experienced school counselor and a well-respected university researcher. It is also based on the only large-scale research study we are aware of that asked more than 13,000 children and teens what had actually worked for them in bullying situations. We conducted the survey that this study is based on in 2010–2011, and we continue to analyze and publish findings based on the data, with two peer-reviewed articles published recently in 2014. Since our original survey, we continue to collect data and revise the survey questions accordingly so that we can learn about specific ways to build students’ resiliency and lower at-risk behavior associated with bullying.
What was your most striking finding?
Mistreated youth told us that what helped them the most were acts of support, inclusion, and encouragement by peers. These bystander actions were more effective and less likely to contribute to negative outcomes than the much-advised strategy of having bystanders confront youth who bully. We view our research findings as a valuable resource for showing educators and caring adults specific ways they can be more effective in empowering students to take effective and safe actions.
How can what you learned from your research help schools to be more effective in preventing the harm that bullying can do?
Young people told us in detail which actions of their own, which actions by adults, and which actions by their peers had helped them the most and which actions had been least helpful in terms of making things better for them. Our book analyzes students’ replies in depth and allows schools to learn the most effective ways to support youth at all age levels, from grades 5 through 12. Our book analyzes differences between boys and girls, older and younger students, students with and without disabilities, white and nonwhite students. We ask and answer questions related to how we can reduce students’ emotional distress associated with different forms of bullying. The book presents a wide range of strategies based on what young people told us and based on other relevant research.
For additional information on Youth Voice Project: Student Insights into Bullying and Peer Mistreatment, visit the book page.