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Bullying and anxiety: social emotional programming and episodes of victimization amongst children in independent school settings Ruggier, Sarah


This study investigated the effects of a school-based anxiety prevention and intervention social emotional learning (SEL) program (i.e., FRIENDS for Life) on anxiety symptoms and the frequency of episodes of victimization due to bullying in an experimental intervention study of elementary aged school children. Standardized assessments were administered in ten school classrooms in an Independent school district (e.g., nonsecular) to Grade 4 children (N = 205), and were used to assess self-reported levels of frequency of victimization episodes, and anxiety symptoms. Classrooms were randomly assigned to either the intervention (i.e., FRIENDS for Life SEL program) or a waitlist control group. Student self-report assessments were collected on two occasions: (a) pre-intervention, and (b) immediately post-intervention. A three way (2 x 2 x 2) repeated measures analysis of variance was conducted to investigate the effect of the treatment on anxiety symptoms and the frequency of victimization episodes. Results revealed a three-way interaction between time, sex and treatment for victimization episodes. Post hoc analyses revealed that all children’s scores on the frequency of victimization measure increased significantly between Time 1 and 2, except for the males in the intervention group, whose scores remained stable after the treatment. Results indicate that there were no other statistically significant effects of the treatment on anxiety symptoms or frequency of victimization episodes. Pearson correlations assessed the relationship between anxiety symptoms and victimization episodes at Time 1 and Time 2. Results revealed significant positive correlations between the two variables at both assessment time points for the treatment group only.

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