NIU Faculty Research on Bullying
NIU Faculty Bullying Research
Dr. Christine Malecki, Dr. Michelle Demaray and Dr. Greg Waas are current faculty in the School Psychology Program at Northern Illinois University who have devoted a significant portion of their research to understanding bullying and peer relationships in schools. Dr. Malecki's research focuses on elements of mutli-tiered service delivery (MTSS) approaches,the social support that children and adolescents perceive in their lives, and bullying/victimization in children and adolescents. Her work on MTSS/RTI examines the procedures used to assess students to evaluate services, curriculum, and instruction for all students and intervention strategies whenm what we are doing is not working. Dr. Malecki and Dr. Demaray collaborate on much of their social support and bullying research and have co-authored the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (CASSS), a measure with evidence for the reliable and valid use to assess various dimensions of social support. Through their social support research, Dr. Malecki and Dr. Demaray have examined how social support is related to the social, emotional and academic adjustment of children, how it is related to bullying and peer victimization and the potential buffering role of social support in the bullying situation. In addition to her research on social support and bullying, Dr. Demaray is considered an expert in the area of the social-emotional assessment of children. Her research interests also include the area of ADHD. Dr. Demaray has conducted various research projects examining bullying in the schools and has been widely published in this area. She has studied the bystander role as well as cyberbullying and victimization. Dr. Waas is also involved in research on the area of bullying and peer victimization, specifically children's peer relations, social cognition and the social processes that occur within the bullying situation. Below are several of their most recent research book chapters and journal articles that address bullying in schools.
Demaray, M.K., Malecki, C.K., Jenkins, L.N., & Westermann, L.D. (2011). Social support in the lives of students involved in aggressive and bullying behaviors. In S. Jimerson & M. Furlong (Eds.), The Handbook of School Violence and School Safety: From Research to Practice. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Bullying and violent behavior is influenced by many factors and characteristics of the individual and the people and systems they interact with, such as, peers, family, school and community. Understanding these interactions surrounds bullying and violent behavior is important in understanding these behaviors. One such factor is social support and perceptions of the amount of social support received from peers, teachers and parents. This chapter explores the role of social support and school violence and explains how research in this area can be used in practice.
Demaray, M.K., & Malecki, C.K. (2011). The role of social support in the lives of students involved in bullying. In D. Espelage & S. Swearer (Eds.), Bullying in North American Schools, 2nd edition (pp.182-190). New York: Routledge.
Social Support is an important contributing variable in bullying situations. The levels of perceived support from important individuals in the lives of students may be related to their involvement and role in the bullying situation. Social support has shown to be related to high levels of positive outcomes for students who perceive high levels of social support and negative outcomes for students who perceive low levels; understanding how this is related to bullying and victimization is discussed in this book chapter. The chapter provides a review of social support research and the theoretical models behind it that may contribute to future research on bullying and victimization. The chapter also provides an overview of research on the perceptions of student’s social support for both bullies and victims and how social support is related to outcomes for students within the bullying situation. It also discusses implications for practice that are inferred from the research on social support and school violence.
Demaray, M.K., Malecki, C.K., & DeLong, L.K. (2006). Support in the lives of aggressive students, their victims and their peers. In S. R. Jimerson and M. J. Furlong (Eds.). Handbook of School Violence and School Safety: From Research to Practice. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Studies have uncovered the alarmingly high prevalence rate of student involvement in bullying and school violence has become a major concern to educators. Bullying has also been considered a risk factor for more serious cases of school violence. As a result, it is encouraged that schools take action and precautions at the onset of a bullying problem. This chapter examines the role of social support in the lives of children who exhibit aggressive behaviors and school violence and the benefits associated with social support for victims, perpetrators and others within the school system.
Malecki, C.K., & Demaray, M.K. (2003). The role of social support in the lives of bullies, victims and victim/bullies. In D. Espelage & S. Swearer (Eds.). Bullying in American Schools: A social ecological perspective on prevention and intervention. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrenence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Bullying within ecological theory brings about the discussion of social support and how it is involved in the lives of children and adolescents who are involved in bullying behavior. According to this theory, bullying problems may stem from the interaction between a child and their environment, and include a broad range of settings within the family, school and community. Social support is one important factor that exists within all of these settings. This chapter discusses the importance of the levels of support that students perceive in their environments and how this aspect of the environment is related to bully and victim problems. It provides a theoretical overview of the construct of social support that supports research of bullying and social support, perceptions of social support for bullies and victims and how it is related to outcomes for bullies and victims.
(In press, accepted for publication) Demaray, M.K., Malecki, C. M., Secord, S.M., & Lyell, K.M. Agreement among students’, teachers’, and parents’ perceptions of victimization by bullying. Children and Youth Services Review (2013).
This study examined the agreement among students’, teachers’, and parents’ perceptions of peer victimization across grade and gender in a sample of students from grades 3-8. Students and parents had moderate agreement correlation among perception levels of victimization, but students and teachers had low levels of agreement correlations on perceptions of victimization. Overall, teachers reported the lowest perceptions of peer victimization and students reported the highest.
Rueger, S. Y., Malecki, C. K., & Demaray, M. K. (2011). Stability of peer victimization in early adolescence: effects of timing and duration. Journal of School Psychology, 49, 443–464.
This study investigated the stability of peer victimization and the impact of the timing and duration of victimization on psychological and academic outcomes for boys and girls on a sample of middle school students. The results showed support for the onset hypothesis and concurrent effects of maladjustment in anxiety, depression, self-esteem, poor school attitude, GPA and attendance; however support for the cessation hypothesis was mixed by gender. Regarding duration, there was support for the life events model of stress and coping across almost all outcomes, suggesting even temporary victimization could contribute to negative outcomes. The study displays the importance of understanding the timing and duration of victimization in understanding the effects of bullying. It also shows how important early intervention is in bullying situations and focusing on helping students regain social-emotional and academic functioning.
Malecki, C. K., Demaray, M. K., & Davidson, L. M. (2008). The relationship among social support, victimization, and student adjustment in a predominantly Latino sample. Journal of School Violence, 7, 48-71.
This study examines the potential mediating role in the relationship between victimization and adjustment for a sample of predominately Latino middle school students in an urban setting. The sample of 142 sixth through eighth graders completed self report measures such as the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale, the Behavior Assessment System for Children, Self Report of Personality, and a victim questionnaire developed for the study. They found that social support played a mediating role in the relationship between victimization and adjustment.
Demaray, M. K., & Malecki, C. K. (2006). A review of the use of social support in anti-bullying programs. Journal of School Violence, 5, 51-70.
This review addresses the problem of bullying, the implementation of anti-bullying programs in schools and the contextual factors that are involved in bullying such as social support. The use of social support in anti-bullying programs is lacking despite its important in the bullying cycle. This review provides a brief overview on the research examining social support as a contextual variable in bullying and reviews existing anti-bullying programs with a specific focus on how they incorporate social support elements into their interventions.
Demaray, M. K., & Malecki, C. K. (2003). Perceptions of the frequency and importance of social support by students classified as victims, bullies, and bully/victims in an urban middle school. School Psychology Review, 32, 471-489.
This study examined the perceptions of frequency and the importance of social support for students who are classified as bullies, victims and bully-victims in comparison to others students. The sample of 6th through 8th grade students came from a predominately Hispanic urban middle school population and students were asked to complete a survey which included 18 questions regarding bullying behavior. These behaviors were categorized into four groups which consisted of bully, victim, bully-victim and comparison. The students also complete the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale-Revised to measure their perceptions of both the frequency and importance of social support from parents, teachers, classmates, close friends and school. Significant differences were found among each of the four groups on both frequency and importance of social support.
Waas, G. A. & Graczyk, P. A. (1999). Child behaviors leading to peer rejection: A view from the peer group. Child Study Journal, 29, 291-306.
The perception of deviant peer behaviors were examined to determine which behaviors may result in peer rejection using a sample of 2nd, 4th and 6th grade students. Three groups of behaviors were determined to lead to negative evaluations from peers using a factor analytic approach: Academic-Disruptive, Anxious-Depressed and Aggressive-Antisocial. Students in the lower grades reported more negative evaluations towards disruptive and aggressive behaviors, while older students had more negative perceptions of anxious behaviors. Gender differences were found, with boys evaluating internalizing behaviors as more negative and girls evaluating externalizing behaviors as more negative. These findings highlight the importance of understanding the perceptions’ of various behaviors in order to identify those at greater risk of peer rejection.
Presentations/Consultation with School Districts
Dr. Malecki, Dr. Demaray and Dr. Waas present their research and share their knowledge on various topics to school districts throughout Illinois. They also have presented their research at a number of professional conferences, including the National Association of School Psychologists Annual Convention and the American Psychological Association Annual Conference. Below is a list of their most recent presentations in the area of bullying:
DeLong, L.K., Davidson, L.M., Demaray, M.K., & Malecki, C.K. (2005, March). A critical review of common bullying prevention programs. Poster presented at the National Association of School Psychologists Annual National Convention, Atlanta, GA.
Malecki, C.K., & Demaray, M.K. (2004, April). Does social support mediate student adjustment for victims of bullying in schools? Presentation at the National Association of School Psychologists Annual National Convention, Dallas, TX.
Demaray, M.K., & Malecki, C.K. (2003, April). Perseptions of the frequency and importance of social support by students classified as victims, bullies and bully/victims in an urban middle school. Paper presented at the annual convention of the National Association of School Psychologits, Toronto, Canda.
Malecki, C.K., & Demaray, M.K. (2003, February). The role of social support in bullying behavior for victims and bullies in schools, Paper presented at the annual convention of the Illinois School Psychology Association, Springfield, IL.
Malecki, C.K. (December 17th, 2012). Media Appearance: School Violence and Violent Video Games. WIFR Rockford 6:00pm news interview.
Interdisciplinary Group on Preventing School and Community Violence (December, 2012). A Call for More Effective Prevention of Violence: Position Statement in Response to the Shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
National Consortium of School Violence Prevention Researchers and Practitioners (December, 2012). Connecticuit School Shooting Position Statement Interdisciplinary Group on Preventing School and Community Violence. Dr. Demaray was an invited member of this national consortium statement.
National Consortium of School Violence Prevention Researchers and Practitioners (November, 2006). School Shootings Position Statement. Dr. Malecki was invited to be a member of this national consortim and worked on earlier drafts of the position statement. This has been widely publicized.
Demaray, M.K. (2013, April 26). Why do some kids cyberbully others? [web blog post] Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-wide-wide-world.psychology/201304/why-do-some-kids-cyberbully-others.
Demaray, M.K., & Brown, C.F.(2009). Prevent cyberbullying: Suggestions for parents. NASP Communique, 38, 1.
Brown, C.F. & Demaray, M.K. (2009). A synopsis of current cyberbullying research. NASP Communique, 38, 19.
Davidson, L.M. & Demaray, M.K. (2005, December). A synopsis of current bullying research. NASP Communique, 34, 4.
Davidson, L.M. & Demaray, M.K. (2005, December). Best practices in bullying prevention and intervention programs. NASP Communique, 34, 4.