Girls Helping Girls


Peer Relations Training for Girls with a Special Focus on "Girl Bullying"

Validation Study

 

In order to determine if the Girls Helping Girls program actually works, a validation study was done in a private middle school. Results of the validation study support the hypothesis that the Girls Helping Girls program creates a perceptibly “safer” social environment for girls.  The results demonstrated the importance of raising awareness about relational aggression and fostering the development of healthy relationship behaviors in middle school age girls using a curriculum designed to create cultural change.

 

Fifty-three girls enrolled in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades at a private elementary school participated in the Girls Helping Girls program.  The program occurred in 8 weekly sessions, consisting of 40-minute Girls Circles.  Each circle was composed of 8 to 12 girls from the same grade level. 

 

A “How People Get Along in Our School” questionnaire was administered to the girls at the start of the first session.  During each session, the girls learned new terms, acted out skits, and had open discussions about personal experiences and ways to handle difficult situations.  At the end of the last session, participants completed an evaluation form that allowed them to express their feelings about the program and offer suggestions for improvement.   Then, six weeks after the completion of the program, the girls completed the “How People Get Along in Our School” questionnaire again.  Comparison was made between the results of the questionnaires administered before and after the Girls Helping Girls program.  An alpha level of .05 was used for all statistical tests.

In the 8th grade sample, agreement scores improved for most questions on getting along, following the Girls Helping Girls program.  There was a significant increase in “These days, girls in my school really try to get along by not being mean to each other” before (M=2.91, SD=0.81) and after (M=3.53, SD=0.90), p=0.027 the program.  There was also a significant increase in “There isn’t that much drama with the girls in school these days” before (M = 1.9, SD = 1.15) and after (M = 2.84, SD = 1.42), p = 0.026, the program.   

           

In the 7th grade sample, 7 questions showed improvements in getting along.  There was a significant increase in “Nobody I know tells stories about other people because they just want other girls to think they know a lot of stuff about people” before (M = 2.94, SD = 1.20) and after (M = 3.94, SD = 1.25), p = .023, the program.  There was also a significant improvement in “There isn’t that much drama with the girls in school these days” before (M = 1.24, SD = 0.75) and after (M = 3.24, SD = 1.35), p = .000, the program.

 

In the 6th grade sample, 5 questions showed improvements in getting along.  There was a significant increase in “Cliques are not really a big thing in my school” before (M – 2.53, SD = 0.96) and after (M = 4.07, SD = 1.36), p = .002, the program.  

 

Results of the validation study indicated that most areas of getting along improved following implementation of the program in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students, with several dimensions having statistically significant differences.   Participants indicated that they were enthusiastic about the Girls Helping Girls program, and they believed it was very helpful in their peer relationships. It is important to note here that even if one might argue that there were no actual changes in the culture, the very fact that perceptions of the social landscape became safer did occur. That is, girls felt that their social environments were safer in several ways, and therein were able to “relax” more and spend less time worrying about girl-girl meanness.

 

Preventing and intervening in relational aggression is extremely important in combating socio-emotional disturbances in girls and the development of mental illness later in life. Giving girls safer social environments means that they can spend more time becoming authentic selves and less time worrying about where and when the next socially devastating piece of “girl drama” will occur.

 

GoDaddy.com