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Executive functions and their relationship with bullying and the mental health of students in school transition

Grant number: 18/04299-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2018
Effective date (End): August 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology
Principal Investigator:Jorge Luiz da Silva
Grantee:Liandra Aparecida Orlando Caetano
Home Institution: Pró-Reitoria Adjunta de Pesquisa e Pós-Graduação. Universidade de Franca (UNIFRAN). Franca , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Bullying, considered a public health problem, affects social coexistence, school performance and the health conditions of school-aged children and adolescents. Its main determinants include school aspects and the personal aspects of students, in addition to other factors outside of school related to family, society and culture. Nonetheless, most investigations addressing this phenomenon disregard personal aspects, especially neuropsychological ones, even though there is evidence that a deficit in executive functions is associated with aggressive behavior and low social competence of children and adolescents, characteristics that favor interpersonal conflict, school bullying, and harm the mental health of students. Thus, this study's general objective is to verify whether there are differences between the cold (e.g., inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility, and working memory) and hot executive functions (e.g., emotional decision-making) of victims, bullies, and bystanders in bullying situations and whether these potential differences are related to variations in the mental health of these students. With a quantitative approach, data will be collected using questionnaires, scales and tests applied to 6th grade students of five public schools in the city of Franca, SP, Brazil. Data will be analyzed using descriptive and inferential analysis. Results are expected to determine the relationships between executive functions, bullying and mental health, as well as ground interventions addressing these three variables, considering that these variables are not immutable; that is, they can be changed with experiences of a social nature enabled by interventions.