Objective: To examine the secondary effects of a personality-targeted intervention on bullying and harms among adolescent victims and bullies.
Method: Outcomes were examined for victims and bullies in the Climate and Preventure study, Australia. Participants completed self-report measures at baseline and four follow-up assessments (6, 12, 24, and 36 months). Thirteen intervention schools (n = 1,087) received Preventure, a brief personality-targeted cognitive-behavioral therapy intervention for adolescents with high-risk personality types (hopelessness, anxiety sensitivity, impulsivity, sensation seeking). Thirteen control schools (n = 1,103) received health education as usual. Bullying was examined for high-risk victims (n = 143 in Preventure schools versus n = 153 in control schools) and bullies (n = 63 in Preventure schools versus n = 67 in control schools) in the total sample. Harms were examined for high-risk victims (n = 110 in Preventure schools versus n = 87 in control schools) and bullies (n = 50 in Preventure schools versus n = 30 in control schools) in independent schools.
Results: There was no significant intervention effect for bullying victimization or perpetration in the total sample. In the subsample, mixed models showed greater reductions in victimization (b = -0.208, 95% CI -0.4104 to -0.002, p < .05), suicidal ideation (b = -0.130, 95% CI -0.225 to -0.034, p < .01), and emotional symptoms (b = -0.263, 95% CI -0.466 to -0.061, p < .05) among high-risk victims in Preventure versus control schools. Conduct problems (b = -0.292, 95% CI -0.554 to -0.030, p < .05) showed greater reductions among high-risk bullies in Preventure versus control schools, and suicidal ideation showed greater reductions among high-risk female bullies in Preventure versus control schools (b = -0.820, 95% CI -1.198 to -0.442, p < .001).
Conclusion: The findings support targeting personality in bullying prevention.
Clinical trial registration information: The CAP Study: Evaluating a Comprehensive Universal and Targeted Intervention Designed to Prevent Substance Use and Related Harms in Australian Adolescents; http://www.anzctr.org.au/; ACTRN12612000026820.
Keywords: bullying; early intervention; mental health; school-based programs.
Copyright © 2019 American Academy of Child and Adolescent mPsychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.