Bullying in Greek schools

Bullying has been identified as a serious problem in secondary schools that undermines students' well-being, school adjustment and learning. The aim of our study is to present the outcomes of an anti-bullying intervention program that places emphasis on the training of students on coping strategies for handling bullying. The program consists of 8 sessions of two-hours and was conducted during the years 2012-2014 and involved 932 students along with their teachers from 14 secondary schools in Thessaly, central Greece (2 schools participated in the control group). Online and printed versions of questionnaires concerning exposure to victimization, safety in school, self-efficacy in coping with bullying and coping strategies were administered to students, before the intervention, immediately after, and three months later. About 10% of the participant students reported that having been seriously bullied. The results from the intervention group showed that under repeated assessments, those participants who were identified as seriously bullied, reported decreased victimization experiences and increased sense of safety in school. Regarding coping with bullying, it was found that the strategies of: a) reduced optimism, b) improving the relationship with the bully, c) wishful thinking and d) pretending that it not happening, significantly distinguish the seriously bullied group of students from their peers in the moderate bullied and safe (from bullying), categories. The coping strategies that found to have predictive value for serious victimization are the wishful thinking and pretense as not happening. At the end of the program, there was a significant decrease in the use of wishful thinking and of pretending as not happening.