Mentoring, leadership program key to ending bullying in at-risk teen girls

New research from experts within the University of Minnesota School of Nursing has found teen girls at high risk for pregnancy reported being significantly less likely to participate in social bullying after participating in an 18-month preventive intervention program.

This research, in combination with University of Minnesota School of Nursing research findings from March 2013, demonstrate the preventative intervention program can reduce social bullying among all , including those who did and did not have strong family ties. Furthermore, girls in the intervention program were significantly more likely to enroll in college or technical school, actions that reduce the risk for involvement in serious violence during .

The latest findings were recently published in the journal Prevention Science.

To evaluate the approach, the intervention program Prime Time was offered alongside primary care clinical services. The program provided 13 to 17-year-old girls at high risk for with one-on-one mentoring and peer leadership opportunities in an effort to reduce bullying and other risky behaviors.

After 18 months of participation in the program, girls self-reported a significant decline in the amount they bullied others via – a social form of bullying including gossip, rumors and ostracism that aims to damage the self-esteem or social status of a peer.

"These findings suggest that building supportive relationships with adults, peers and family members contributes to reductions in bullying and other among at risk for involvement in violence," said study lead author Renee Sieving, Ph.D., R.N., F.S.A.H.M., an associate professor with the University of Minnesota School of Nursing's Center for Adolescent Nursing and adjunct associate professor in the university's Department of Pediatrics.

A 2010 statewide survey of Minnesota youth found 42 percent of ninth grade girls and 28 percent of twelfth grade girls reported teasing or making fun of another student in a hurtful way within the past 30 days. Nationally, a 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found approximately 22 percent of female high school students reported being bullied on school property within the past year.

Bullying and violence among girls are linked to a range of poor physical and mental health outcomes. In 2011, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies issued a call for better clinical screening and counseling for interpersonal violence with both adolescent and adult women.

"There is a startling lack of evidence in the scientific community about effective approaches to preventing bullying and violence among girls," said Sieving. "This preventative intervention program, which employs a dual approach of addressing risks while building protective factors that buffer girls from involvement in and violence, holds great promise in preventing among girls."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bullying can be a summertime issue, too

Jul 06, 2012

(Phys.org) -- The threat of bullying doesn't stop at the schoolyard gate nor does it end when the final bell signals the beginning of summer vacation, warns Dr. Jennifer Caudle of the University of Medicine and Dentistry ...

Recommended for you

Brains transform remote threats into anxiety

15 hours ago

Modern life can feel defined by low-level anxiety swirling through society. Continual reports about terrorism and war. A struggle to stay on top of family finances and hold onto jobs. An onslaught of news ...

Mental disorders due to permanent stress

16 hours ago

Activated through permanent stress, immune cells will have a damaging effect on and cause changes to the brain. This may result in mental disorders. The effects of permanent stress on the immune system are studied by the ...

Could there be a bright side to depression?

16 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—A group of researchers studying the roots of depression has developed a test that leads them closer to the idea that depression may actually be an adaptation meant to help people cope with ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.