Promoting Prosocial Behavior to Prevent Aggression and Bullying in Middle Schools: An environment, person, and behavior-focused intervention

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Virginia Tech

The most common school-based interventions to prevent victimization from bullying use disciplinary methods and increase playground supervision. While enforcement approaches can prevent bullying, the effects are often short term and may lead to undesirable side effects. Thus, it seems a positive approach to increase prosocial behavior and prevent victimization is needed. This study evaluated the Actively Caring for People (AC4P) approach in four Southwest Virginia middle schools. Sixth and seventh grade students from two schools (n=209) participated in a five-week prosocial-focused curriculum, while 194 students served in the control group. All participants completed pre and post-test measures on their prosocial behavior performed and received, aggressive victimization and aggression performed, as well as bullying victimization and bullying performed to others. Linear regression and binary logistic regression were used to assess the impact of the Intervention. Follow-up moderator analyses were performed to assess the impact of Intervention Fidelity, Classroom Climate, Coaches' Entity Prosocial Mindset, and Role Model Perceptions. No intervention effects were observed and no moderators of the intervention were significant. Implications, limitations, and future directions are discussed.

middle schools, classroom intervention, aggression, bullying, prosocial behavior