Middle school bullying

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Middle school bullying

Indeed, we know in talking to kids about bullying throughout the lifespan is important. But from our research we know that there is quite a significant peak in bullying, both in verbal and physical forms and cyber bullying as kids enter into middle school. Early adolescence and middle school is a time where kids are trying to figure out who they are. They are trying to figure out which peer group they are in, from middle school to elementary school. It's a time when you are trying to establish dominance within peer hierarchies. Unfortunately, one of the ways that kids establish popularity and social status is to engage in bullying. We know that bullying sets the stage for subsequent aggression and sets the stage for biased based perpetration and sexual aggression, and dating violence in the adolescence. It is really important that we address issues of bullying in middle school, so that we can slow down the potential for this to escalate this into other forms of aggression.

Watch Dorothy Espelage's video on Middle school bullying...


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Dorothy Espelage

Professor of Child Development

Dorothy L. Espelage, PhD, is a Professor of Child Development in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  She is a University Scholar and has fellow status in Division 17 (Counseling Psychology) of the American Psychological Association.  She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Indiana University in 1997. She has conducted research on bullying, homophobic teasing, sexual harassment, and dating violence for the last 18 years. As a result, she presents regularly at regional, national, and international conferences and is author on over 90 professional publications.  She is co-editor of four published books including Bullying in North American Schools: A Social-Ecological Perspective on Prevention and Intervention and International Handbook of Bullying published by Routledge. She is Associate Editor of the Journal of Counseling Psychology. She has presented thousands of workshops and in-service training seminars for teachers, administrators, counselors, and social workers across the U.S.  Her research focuses on translating empirical findings into prevention and intervention programming.  She is currently funded by the CDC for a randomized clinical trial of a bullying prevention program in 36 middle schools. She authored a 2011 White House Brief on bullying among LGBTQ youth and attended the White House Conference in 2011. She is also funded by National Science Foundation to develop better methods to assess bullying among adolescents and CDC and NIJ are funding a longitudinal study of predictors of bullying and dating violence among adolescents. Dr. Espelage has appeared on many television news and talk shows, including The Today Show; CNN; CBS Evening News; The Oprah Winfrey Show, Anderson, Anderson 360 and has been quoted in the national print press, including Time Magazine, USA Today, People, Boston Globe, and the Wall Street Journal. Her dedicated team of undergraduate and graduate students are committed to the dissemination of the research through various mechanisms.

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