Bullying is an international phenomenon that is increasingly becoming recognized as a public health issue and mental health concern.
Systematic reviews suggest that complex, whole-school anti-bullying interventions are effective at reducing victimization and bullying in high-income countries (HICs). We report a systematic review evaluating the effectiveness of school-based interventions to reduce and prevent bullying among adolescents in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
In addition to searching 31 databases, we also hand searched key journals and grey literature. We contacted experts in the field for input during the search process. After rigorously screening retrieved studies against predetermined inclusion/exclusion criteria, only three studies were included in this review.
One study used a cognitive and behavioral approach to target bullying among adolescents in Romania, one study adapted the international Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) for use in Malaysia, and the other developed a model for use in South Africa. Results from all three studies were mixed and provided no overall evidence of effect for the interventions.
The validity of the results for two of the studies was unclear due to substantial or unclear risks of bias. Given the well-established evidence base for anti-bullying interventions in HICs, there is an urgent need for more rigorously evaluated and reported studies in LMICs, adapted for contexts of considerable resource constraints.
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