Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Bullying May be Prevented by CBT Intervention Targeting Personality Types

A form of cognitive-behavioral therapy designed to target the personality types of adolescents who are either victims or perpetrators of bullying may be effective in preventing bullying, according to a report in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Students at 13 schools in Australia received “Preventure,” a brief CBT-based intervention shown to be effective in reducing internalizing and externalizing problems among adolescents with four personality types associated with psychopathology: hopelessness, anxiety sensitivity, impulsivity, and sensation seeking. Students at 13 control schools received usual health education.

Students were assessed for the four personality traits using the Substance Use Risk Profile Scale. Bullying prevalence was measured using an amended version of the Revised Olweus Bully/Victim Scale. Students were categorized as “high risk” victims or perpetrators.

The Preventure program includes goalsetting, psychoeducation about the personality profile being targeted, and practice in applying the CBT model to help students identify and challenge unhelpful thinking styles associated with their personality profile.

In comparison with students in the control schools, there were greater reductions in conduct problems among high-risk bullies and greater reductions in suicidal ideation among high-risk girl bullies in the Preventure program.

“This study underscores the benefits of examining innovative methods for strengthening bullying intervention,” wrote lead author Erin Kelly, Ph.D., of the Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use, Sydney Medical School, and colleagues. “The findings support the call for school-based bullying intervention to be holistic, accounting for the interrelatedness of bullying and other emotional and behavioral problems among adolescents.”

For related information see the Psychiatric News article“Bullying Found to Increase Risk for Adolescent Suicide Attempts Worldwide.

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