Social influence and bullying behavior: intervention-based network dynamics of the fairplayer.manual bullying prevention program.
Wölfer R., Scheithauer H.
Bullying is a social phenomenon and although preventive interventions consequently address social mechanisms, evaluations hardly consider the complexity of peer processes. Therefore, the present study analyzes the efficacy of the fairplayer.manual bullying prevention program from a social network perspective. Within a pretest-posttest control group design, longitudinal data were available from 328 middle-school students (MAge = 13.7 years; 51% girls), who provided information on bullying behavior and interaction patterns. The revealed network parameters were utilized to examine the network change (MANCOVA) and the network dynamics (SIENA). Across both forms of analyses, findings revealed the hypothesized intervention-based decrease of bullies' social influence. Hence the present bullying prevention program, as one example of programs that successfully addresses both individual skills and social mechanisms, demonstrates the desired effect of reducing contextual opportunities for the exhibition of bullying behavior.