Bullying is a problem that affects adolescents worldwide. Efforts to prevent bullying have been moderately successful at best, or iatrogenic at worst. We offer an explanation for this limited success by employing an evolutionary-psychological perspective to analyze antibullying interventions. We argue that bullying is a goal-directed behavior that is sensitive to benefits as well as costs, and that interventions must address these benefits. This perspective led us to develop a novel antibullying intervention, Meaningful Roles, which offers bullies prosocial alternatives—meaningful roles and responsibilities implemented through a school jobs program and reinforced through peer-to-peer praise notes—that effectively meet the same status goals as bullying behavior. We describe this new intervention and how its theoretical evolutionary roots may be applicable to other intervention programs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Behavioral Neuroscience