Putting a Stop to Bullying
Anti-bullying research indicates a need for earlier intervention
The findings that a majority of students in the study’s sample reaching middle school age showed a decline in cognitive empathy indicate that fourth and fifth grades would be an ideal time to focus on social and emotional growth in students and work on developing empathy skills to help prevent bullying behaviors, the research argues.
“The findings suggest that maybe this decline in cognitive empathy occurs, then empathy proceeds to increase later in life as studies have shown,” she said. “We’re starting to view late elementary school – fourth and fifth grades – as an appropriate time to introduce interventions that encourage students to think about others’ perspectives and help support successful transitions to middle school. And we think it could be a good time for educators to introduce activities to support cognitive empathy development.”
“At the end of the day, I think this shows the importance of addressing the development of social and emotional learning skills to support students’ behavioral and academic success and their successful transitions to new school environments,” Williford said
Additional Research & Resources
The above study is part of a larger body of research on bullying prevention
Visit Kansans Against Bullying Project website for additional research. This site is sponsored by the Kansas State Department of Education and is a project under the School of Social Welfare's Center for Children & Families.
General Information and Resources
- Books like "Understanding the experiences of a victimized child: Appropriate responses for parents, peers, and school social workers."
* Williford, A. (2014). Understanding the experiences of a victimized child: Appropriate responses for parents, peers, and school social workers. In C. W. LeCroy & E. Anthony (Eds.), Case Studies in Child, Adolescent, and Family Treatment (2nd ed). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
For Teachers, Administrators, and Mental Health Providers
The Important Role of Adults in Bullying Intervention: Recommendations for Developing Effective Training Protocols by Anne Williford, Ph.D.