This paper outlines theoretical considerations for bullying, including developmental changes in (a) the manifestation of bullying, (b) the underlying causes of bullying, and (c) the efficacy of domain-general behavior-change tactics. Results were consistent with theory in that whereas bullying appears to be effectively prevented in 7th grade and below, in 8th grade and beyond there is a sharp drop to an average of zero. This paper provides a basis for a theory of age-related moderation of program effects that may generalize to other domains. The findings also suggest the more general need for caution when interpreting between-study meta-analytic moderation results. Key findings include:
- Bullying appears to be effectively prevented in 7th grade and below.
- In 8th grade there is a sharp drop to an average of zero.
- There was a seeming reversal in efficacy through the high school years, such that programs, if anything, cause harm.
- Developmental theory suggests why this may be the case and provides opportunities for future improved interventions.
Yeager, D. S., Fong, C. J., Lee, H. Y., & Espelage, D. L. (2015). Declines in efficacy of anti-bullying programs among older adolescents: Theory and a three-level meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 37, 36-51. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2014.11.005