As part of our forthcoming launch of our new program Take action! Stand up against bullying in sports , we are offering you a series of texts on the theme of bullying.

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You will recall that in our most recent blog, we discussed strength and resilience by presenting to you our spokesperson Cindy Ouellet. That was our first blog on an approach to face bullying. This week, we are going to consider this matter further by questioning what we can do to end bullying.

Even before answering this question, we must first point out that bullying can be stopped. Some people will say that, since “man is a wolf to man”, violence is part of our nature and therefore it is impossible to do anything about it. However, even Thomas Hobbes, the author of this quotation, stated that a policy founded on the right to security would allow this natural condition of man to be overcome.

Essentially, it appears impossible to permanently eradicate violence considering that it is part of us, we can still however control and reduce it significantly. In a school setting for example, programs succeed in reducing the number of cases of bullying (Ttofi et al., 2011). On the other hand, the results vary greatly according to the quality of the program implemented. Certain programs can even have the opposite effect and create more violence (Ttofi et al., 2011). Fortunately, research has been able to identify a few key factors listed among the best interventions. Basically, the first factor requires that an effective program be systematic. (Astor & al., 2009; Beaumont, 2014; Cohen, & al., 2009; Espelage, 2014; Solomon & al., 2012; Steffgen & al., 2013; Ttofi & al.,2011; Wilson & al., 2007).

The reason comes from the causes of bullying. Éric Debarbieux (2008), ex-president of the Observatoire international sur la violence à l’école, recommends: “Single cause you will reject”. Hence, it is the accumulation of risk factors and a lack of protection factors that will determine the risks of being a victim or bully. In short, bullying is neither caused by a risk factor nor eliminated by a protection factor. That is why we have to consider all factors, as Parent & al., (2019) correctly did in their synthesis in a sports environment:

Protection factors

Individual factors

  • Superior athletic skills

Relational factors

  • Strong team cohesion
  • Presence of positive group dynamics formed by peers (development of good communications between peers, learning teamwork and mutual support for teammates)
  • Presence of proactive parents and adults who are aware of the bullying problem

Contextual or organizational factors

  • Values related to secure environments for participants in an effort to create a climate that does not support bullying
  • Values founded on cooperation

(Parent & al., 2019)

A good program will therefore succeed in acting on each level (individual, relational and contextual or organizational) in order to ensure the greatest number of protection factors possible and the least risk factors for our young athletes. The program could then be qualified as systematic.

Sport’Aide prioritizes this approach on a daily basis in all its interventions, with both individuals and organizations. And that is why our program – Take action! Stand up against bullying in sports – seeks to equip all stakeholders operating at the various levels of the sports community (young athletes, parents, coaches and administrators). Essentially, we always have to keep in mind that if each tool of the program has its own purpose, it is generally necessary to use a multitude of tools to face bullying. All in all, violence remains a very complicated phenomenon which requires intervention on several levels.

In our next blog, we will discuss an approach complementary to the comprehensive approach, but just as necessary, the positive approach.

In the meantime, you can explore the various facets of our program at www.counterbullying.sportaide.ca

You can also consult the article by Parent and D’amours (2019) since, due to a lack of space, we were unable to present you the risk factors related to bullying. You can therefore find them at Facteurs-de-risque/INSPQ

Alexandre Baril

Project manager – Take action! Stand up against bullying in sport

Sport’Aide

Reference

Astor, R. A., Benbenishty, R., & Estrada, J. N. (2009). School violence and theoretically atypical schools: The principal’s centrality in orchestrating safe schools. American Educational Research Journal, 46(2), 423-461.

Beaumont, C. (2014). Revoir notre approche en prévention de la violence et de l’intimidation : des interventions soutenues par la recherche ; Mémoire présenté au secrétariat du forum sur l’intimidation Ministère de la famille. Québec, QC : Research Chair “la sécurité et la violence en milieu éducatif”. Laval University.

Cohen, J., McCabe, L., Michelli, N. M., & Pickeral, T. (2009). School climate: Research, policy, practice, and teacher education. Teachers college record111(1), 180-213.

Debarbieux, É. (2008). Dix Commandements contre la violence à l’école (Les). Odile Jacob.

Espelage, D. L. (2014). Ecological theory: Preventing youth bullying, aggression, and victimization. Theory into Practice53 (4), 257-264.

Parent, S. et D’Amours, C. (2019). Intimidation en contexte sportif. Detected at https://www.inspq.qc.ca/intimidation/jeunes/intimidation-en-contexte-sportif .

Solomon, B. G., Klein, S. A., Hintze, J. M., Cressey, J. M., & Peller, S. L. (2012). A meta‐analysis of school‐wide positive behavior support: An exploratory study using single‐case synthesis. Psychology in the Schools49(2), 105-121.

Steffgen, G., Recchia, S., & Viechtbauer, W. (2013). The link between school climate and violence in school: A meta-analytic review. Aggression and Violent Behavior18(2), 300-309.

Ttofi, M. M., & Farrington, D. P. (2011). Effectiveness of school-based programs to reduce bullying: A systematic and meta-analytic review. Journal of Experimental Criminology7(1), 27-56.

Wilson, S. J., & Lipsey, M. W. (2007). School-based interventions for aggressive and disruptive behavior: Update of a meta-analysis. American journal of preventive medicine33(2), S130-S143.

«[..] it appears impossible to permanently eradicate violence considering that it is part of us, we can still however control and reduce it significantly.»