Research Design

2006-2007 & 2007-2008

The research focused on secondary school students (Form 1 to Form 3) during these two years. From 2006 to 2007, we investigated reactive aggressors and passive victims as the targeted students. From 2007 to 2008, we investigated proactive aggressors and aggressive victims as the targeted students.

Through experimental design, this study aimed to verify the therapeutic effectiveness of group intervention for the four subtypes of aggressors and victims (i.e. proactive aggressors, reactive aggressors, aggressive victims and pure victims), by comparing intervention and control groups. Based on cognitive behavioural therapy, the intervention group aimed to reduce the aggressive behaviour of the reactive and proactive aggressors, and enhance the ability for self-expression and emotional regulation of the aggressive and passive victims. The control group was a study group designed to enhance students’ motivation to study. It was not involved with the plan to reduce aggressive behaviour or enhance the ability for self-expression and emotional regulation. The targeted students were randomly assigned to either the intervention group or the control group.

A control student was assigned to each intervention group. This student, who received a low score on the questionnaire, was recommended by the teachers to ensure that he or she had good social and communication skills. One of the reasons for assigning a control student was to diminish the labelling effect. Another was that the control student was intended to be a role model in his/her group and a positive influence on the other members.

The cognitive, behavioural and emotional development of individuals is influenced by their surrounding environment, including their family, school and society (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). Therefore, triangulation was used in this research to assess the effectiveness of the group intervention using multiple sources: parent-reporting, teacher-reporting and self-reporting.

Adopting a mixed methods research design, this study used both quantitative and qualitative assessment methods to assess the performance of group members before and after the intervention. The quantitative method was used to collect data through different kinds of questionnaires. The qualitative method was used to evaluate the thoughts, emotions and behaviours of the aggressors and victims through structured interviews. To evaluate the effects of group intervention, pre-tests and post-tests were conducted to compare the performance of the members before and after the group. In addition, because this was a longitudinal study evaluating the long-term effects of intervention, the members were asked to participate in quantitative and qualitative assessments one year after they completed the intervention group.

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© 2019 City University of Hong Kong          Project on Children and Adolescents at Risk Education (Project C.A.R.E.)