Randomized controlled trial of a family intervention for children bullied by peers.Behav Ther 2014; 45(6):760-77BT
This study examined the effects of a family intervention on victimization and emotional distress of children bullied by peers. The intervention, Resilience Triple P, combined facilitative parenting and teaching children social and emotional skills relevant to developing strong peer relationships and addressing problems with peers. Facilitative parenting is parenting that supports the development of children's peer relationship skills. A randomized controlled trial was conducted with 111 families who reported chronic bullying of children aged 6 to 12 years. Families were randomly allocated to either an immediate start to Resilience Triple P (RTP) or an assessment control (AC) condition. Assessments involving children, parents, teachers, and observational measures were conducted at 0 (pre), 3 (post) and 9 months follow-up. RTP families had significantly greater improvements than AC families on measures of victimization, child distress, child peer and family relationships, including teacher reports of overt victimization (d=0.56), child internalizing feelings (d=0.59), depressive symptoms (d=0.56), child overt aggression towards peers (d=0.51), acceptance by same sex and opposite sex peers (d=0.46/ 0.60), and child liking school (d=0.65). Families in both conditions showed significant improvements on most variables over time including child reports of bullying in the last week reducing to a near zero and indistinguishable from the normative sample. The intervention combining facilitative parenting and social and emotional skills training for children produced better results than the comparison assessment control condition. This study demonstrated that family interventions can reduce victimization and distress and strengthen school efforts to address bullying.