Environmental Buffers and Prevention Programs

Some adolescents are more resilient to victimization due to their personal characteristics, but there are some environmental factors that can decrease the risk for many negative consequences associated with victimization such as having a best friend . In addition, research shows that support from teachers can be a significant environmental factor for higher academic achievement and school engagement. It can also increase general well- being in the classroom. Teacher attitudes towards bullying were found to moderate the extend of which victims internalize and feel distressed and express it by avoiding school and similar behavior. Close teacher- student relationship moderates perceived safety in the classroom, and higher perceived safety is directly liked to better classroom concentration and improved coping strategies. Therefore, supportive teachers can be a great buffer for victimized students. Interestingly, witnessing the harassment of others can also reduce some harmful effects of being victimized: victims-only feel more humiliated and angry than victims-witnesses on the same day. Being singled out and picked on feels worse than being one of many victimized students. This explains why in ethnically diverse schools victimized students experience worse psychological outcomes when their ethnic group is in majority, because then they are more likely to attribute it to their personal shortcomings and not to their group membership.

Prevention programs
There are many prevention programs, which have been designed to improve social skills of the unpopular or rejected and victimized adolescents. A prevention program usually focused on one of the three strategies: 1) teaching social skills like self-expression, leadership, and the questioning of others about themselves 2) have unpopular adolescents participate in group activities together with the popular adolescents under supervision of psychologists; 3) some programs focus on training effective skills of combining cognitive and behavioral abilities, including social problem solving. Different types of programs have shown to have somewhat different effects: the first type seems to best improve adolescent’s ability to get along with others while the second kind has shown to improve adolescents’ self-conceptions and their acceptance by others (Bierman &Furman, 1984). One of the examples of the third-strategy based programs is PATHS (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) teaches skills needed for successfully analyzing social situations, controlling one’s negative emotions, and making morerational social decisions. It has been shown to successfully reduce behavioral problems among elementary school children. However, it is difficult to prevent relational aggression from happening as often times adolescents who use it are seen to be more popular among their peers.