Social Norms Predict Bullying: Evidence from an Anti-Bullying Intervention Trial in Indonesia
Zaneva M., Minnick E., Nahar None., Ginting V., Aryani F., Ohan F., Haryanti RH., Winarna S., Arsianto Y., Budiyawati H., Widowati E., Saraswati R., Kristianto Y., Suryani YE., Ulum DF., Bowes L.
AbstractSocial norms pertaining to negative or violent interpersonal behaviours constitute a promising target for programs designed to reduce bullying. Yet, there is a lack of evidence on anti-bullying programs targeting social norms in non-Western, low- and middle-income countries. Here, we report findings on the relationship between social norms and bullying from one such large-scale program, the feasibility trial of the ROOTS-Indonesia intervention. This intervention was delivered across 12 secondary schools in two different regions in Indonesia. We report findings based on a total of 7,203 students at baseline (in South Sulawesi, n = 1901, mean age = 13 years, 53% female; and in Central Java, n = 5302, mean age = 13.3 years, 48% female). Via a multilevel analytic approach, we found consistent evidence that the extent to which negative behaviours were considered normative by students was associated with how much they would engage in bullying, both as perpetrators and as victims. Our data reveal some encouraging trends suggesting the ROOTS-Indonesia intervention reduced negative social norms. We note a trend such that where social norms decreased the most at follow-up, the rates of bullying similarly decreased the most. Overall, we provide further evidence that social norms are a promising avenue for the reduction of negative interpersonal behaviours.