Facilitators and barriers to the implementation of Motivational Interviewing (MI) for bullying perpetration in school settings

Donna Pennell, Marilyn Campbell, Donna Tangen, Kevin Runions, Juliet Brooks, Donna Cross

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6 Citations (Scopus)
115 Downloads (Pure)


Bullying is a perplexing and persistent problem with negative consequences for all involved. Schools are assigned considerable responsibility for the management of bullying because of its prevalence amongst youth. Despite considerable efforts over decades to curtail bullying through the use of anti‐bullying policies and other school‐based interventions, the rates of young people who frequently bully has not decreased significantly. Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a relational and affirming conversational method that strengthens an individual's motivation and commitment to change, overcoming ambivalence toward the problem. The aim of the current study was to provide preliminary insight into the feasibility of incorporating MI into student service repertoires for addressing bullying. Ten staff participants from six secondary schools, who had roles in bullying intervention within their respective schools, were offered training in MI and invited to use and monitor this method in their practice as an intervention for students who perpetrate bullying. Results indicated a number factors which influenced the uptake of MI in schools. Facilitators enabling the use of MI included practitioner's professional background, administrative support, training and implementation of MI. Barriers to the use of MI included time pressure and administrative expectations, school roles and system limitations, and preconceptions and the stigma of bullying.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-150
Number of pages8
JournalScandinavian Journal of Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


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