Dorothy L Espelage

Ph.D.
Edward William Gutgsell & Jane Marr Gutgsell Endowed Professor Hardie Professor of Education University Scholar

Publications

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    Dorothy L Espelage
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    ABSTRACT: This commentary reviews research findings of the five papers in the special entitled "School-related Factors in the Development of Bullying Perpetration and Victimization", which represent critical areas that are often overlooked in the literature. First, one paper points to the complex interaction between a genetic disposition for aggression and classroom norms toward aggression. Second, an intervention paper unpacks the underlying mechanisms of an efficacious school-wide bully prevention program by opening the "black box" and testing for mediators. Third, the remaining studies employ a wide range of rigorous designs to identify how teachers' attitudes, behaviors, and classroom practices play a critical role in the prevalence of victimization and bullying in the classroom. Further, teachers' attitudes and behaviors are shown to be predictive of youth's willingness to intervene to assist a peer who is being victimized. Results are situated in what is known about bullying prevention, and how the findings from these studies could maximize the sensitivity of future prevention efforts.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 10/2014; · 3.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the "Content") contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis, our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use of the Content. This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at
    10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Bullying perpetration and sexual harassment perpetration among adolescents are major public health issues. However, few studies have addressed the empirical link between being a perpetrator of bullying and subsequent sexual harassment perpetration among early adolescents in the literature. Homophobic teasing has been shown to be common among middle school youth and was tested as a moderator of the link between bullying and sexual harassment perpetration in this 2-year longitudinal study. More specifically, the present study tests the Bully-Sexual Violence Pathway theory, which posits that adolescent bullies who also participate in homophobic name-calling toward peers are more likely to perpetrate sexual harassment over time. Findings from logistical regression analyses (n = 979, 5th-7th graders) reveal an association between bullying in early middle school and sexual harassment in later middle school, and results support the Bully-Sexual Violence Pathway model, with homophobic teasing as a moderator, for boys only. Results suggest that to prevent bully perpetration and its later association with sexual harassment perpetration, prevention programs should address the use of homophobic epithets.
    Journal of Interpersonal Violence 10/2014; · 1.64 Impact Factor
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    Michelle Birkett, Dorothy L. Espelage
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    ABSTRACT: Social network analysis and multilevel modeling were used to examine the formation of homophobic name-calling behavior in adolescents. Specifically, peer group contextual and socialization effects on homophobic name-calling as well as the influence of masculinity attitudes, general bullying perpetration, and victimization were tested. Participants included 493 fifth- through eighth-grade students from two middle schools. Results indicated that peer groups play an important role in the formation of homophobic name-calling. Additionally, students who were victims of homophobic name-calling over time increased their own perpetration of homophobic name-calling. Non-homophobic bullying was also related to homophobic name-calling, but only for male peer groups. And finally, the role of masculinity attitudes was shown to be complex, as peer group masculinity attitudes were significantly predictive of an individual's homophobic perpetration; however, this effect did not remain significant over time. Results suggest that homophobic name-calling during early adolescence is strongly influenced by peers and rooted in gender and masculinity.
    Review of Social Development 09/2014; · 1.56 Impact Factor
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    Dorothy L Espelage, Sabina K Low, Shane R Jimerson
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    ABSTRACT: Existing scholarship suggests that classroom practices, teacher attitudes, and the broader school environment play a critical role in understanding the rates of student reports of aggression, bullying, and victimization as well as correlated behaviors. A more accurate understanding of the nature, origins, maintenance, and prevalence of bullying and other aggressive behavior requires consideration of the broader social ecology of the school community. However, studies to date have predominantly been cross-sectional in nature, or have failed to reflect the social-ecological framework in their measurement or analytic approach. Thus, there have been limited efforts to parse out the relative contribution of student, classroom, and organizational-level factors. This special topic section emphasizes a departure from a focus on student attitudes and behaviors, to a social-contextual approach that appreciates how much features of the school environment can mitigate or perpetuate aggression. This collection of articles reflects innovative and rigorous approaches to further our understanding of climate, and has implications for theory, measurement, prevention, and practice. These studies highlight the influence of school climate on mental health, academic achievement, and problem behavior, and will hopefully stimulate interest in and further scholarship on this important topic. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
    09/2014; 29(3):233-237.
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    Gianluca Gini, Dorothy L. Espelage
    JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association 08/2014; 312(5). · 29.98 Impact Factor
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    Dorothy L Espelage, Joshua R Polanin, Sabina K Low
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    ABSTRACT: This study examines how teacher and staff perceptions of the school environment correlate with student self-reports of bullying, aggression, victimization, and willingness to intervene in bullying incidents using multi-informant, multilevel modeling. Data were derived from 3,616 6th grade students across 36 middle schools in the Midwest, who completed survey measures of bullying, aggression, victimization, and willingness to intervene in bullying situations. Teachers and staff (n = 1,447) completed a school environment survey. Bivariate associations between school-level and student self-reports indicated that as teacher and staff perceive aggression as a problem in their school, students reported greater bully perpetration, fighting, peer victimization, and less willingness to intervene. Further, as staff and teacher report greater commitment to prevent bullying and viewed positive teacher and student relationships, there was less bullying, fighting, and peer victimization, and greater willingness to intervene. In a model where all school environment scales were entered together, a school commitment to prevent bullying was associated with less bullying, fighting, and peer victimization. Student-reports of bully perpetration and peer victimization were largely explained by staff and teacher commitment to bully prevention, whereas fighting and willingness to intervene were largely explained by student characteristics (e.g., gender). We conclude that efforts to address bullying and victimization should involve support from the school administration. School psychologists should play an active role in the school climate improvement process, by creating a school climate council consisting of students, parents, and teachers; administering school climate measures; identifying specific school improvement targets from these data, and engaging all stakeholders in the ongoing school improvement plan. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
    08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Teachers in U.S. schools report high rates of victimization, yet previous studies focus on select types of victimization and student perpetrators, which may underestimate the extent of the problem. This national study was based on work conducted by the American Psychological Association Classroom Violence Directed Against Teachers Task Force and is one of the few national studies to examine violence directed at teachers. Participants included 2,998 kindergarten through 12th-grade (K-12) teachers from 48 states who completed an anonymous web-based survey assessing their experiences with victimization. Results revealed that 80% of teachers reported at least one victimization, and of these teachers, 94% reported being victimized by students. Nearly three-fourths of all teachers experienced at least one harassment offense, more than half experienced property offenses, and 44% reported physical attacks. Findings suggest that specific teacher and community characteristics are associated with a higher likelihood of victimization, namely, male gender and urban settings; whereas, African American teachers were less likely to report victimization. Implications for teacher training, school interventions, public policy, and future research are discussed.
    Psychology in the Schools 06/2014; · 0.72 Impact Factor
  • Dorothy Espelage, Sabina Low
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    ABSTRACT: For decades, scholars have tended to study each type of aggression or violence in isolation of one another and only recently have scholars recognized the need to examine multiple forms of violence simultaneously (Espelage et al., 2011; Hamby & Grych, 2013). These problems undoubtedly share some developmental correlates and evidence is emerging that these problems co-occur among early adolescents (Basile et al., 2009). This longitudinal study of a large sample of high school students addresses the extent to which violence directed toward peers (e.g., homophobic name-calling, bullying, sexual harassment) and other correlates (e.g., attitudes, family, and peer dynamics) is predictive of verbal and physical teen dating violence over a one year of high school, controlling for initial levels of TDV perpetration. Students from three high schools (N = 1947) were surveyed at two time points (Spring 2012, 2013); sample was on average 15.81 years of age, 53% female, 53% African-American, 32% White, and 8% biracial. Students completed a wide range of scales with strong psychometric evidence including the University of Illinois Bully Scale (Espelage & Holt, 2001), 28-items of the Conflict in Adolescent Dating Relationship Inventory (Wolfe et al., 2001). The University of Illinois Bully Scale (Espelage & Holt, 2001) was used to assess bullying behavior that included teasing, social exclusion, name-calling, and rumor spreading. Two CADRI teen dating violence (TDV) scales were used in these analyses: verbal (name-calling) and physical (choking, biting, hitting) perpetration. Other scales assessed anger, depression, sexual harassment and homophobic name-calling perpetration, attitudes supportive of dating violence, explosive conflict style, delinquency, substance use, peer support for teen dating violence, and family violence. Two regression analyses were calculated predicting verbal and physical TDV perpetration at wave 2 from the predictors listed above, controlling for gender and age. The model predicting verbal TDV wave 2 explained 37% of the variance and the significant predictors from wave 1 were greater bullying perpetration, verbal TDV wave 1, depression, and an explosive conflict style. In the physical TDV model, 17% of the variance was explained and significant predictors were physical TDV wave 1 and bully perpetration. Findings indicated some shared and non-shared risk factors for verbal and physical TDV. These data point to the importance of understanding that violence from peer interactions extend to violence in romantic relationship contexts.
    Society for Prevention Research 22nd Annual Meeting 2013; 05/2014
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    ABSTRACT: Bullying, sexual, and dating violence among adolescents are all major public health problems that occur at relatively high rates and co-occur among early adolescents (Author et al., 2009; Author et al., 2011). However, for decades, scholars have tended to study each type of aggression or violence in isolation of the others and only recently have scholars recognized the need to examine multiple forms of violence simultaneously given the high incidence of poly-victimization, and the degree of overlap over the lifespan (Hamby & Grych, 2013). This longitudinal study is the first to address the associations among these types of violence using a developmental model that reflects the appropriate developmental age-dynamics across early to late adolescence. This model posits family violence and delinquency would be associated with bullying during middle school and bullying would be predictive of sexual harassment and teen dating violence during high school. Three cohorts of students (N = 1161) completed self-report surveys across seven waves of data collection from 5th grade through 11th grade. Structural equation models without latent indicators were fit separately for boys (N = 587) and girls (N = 574) to correlation matrices using the predictors of wave (time), bullying, sibling aggression, delinquency, sexual harassment, and teen dating violence (TDV). Structural models were built through an iterative process guided by theory and modification indices to evaluate the models. Exposure to family trauma and violence dropped out of the models. The final models for girls and boys were a good fit to the data; RMSEAs = .066, .07. For girls, bullying others, sibling aggression, and delinquency at wave 1 significantly predicted bullying behavior across waves 2 through 5. Further, bully perpetration at waves 1 through 5 predicted sexual harassment and verbal TDV perpetration at wave 6 which in turn predicted physical TDV perpetration at Wave 7. For boys, results are similar except that sibling aggression was predictive of bully perpetration only in high school. Further, delinquency during middle school predicted both bullying and sexual harassment perpetration in high school. Finally, bullying behavior in middle school predicted sexual harassment perpetration and verbal TDV at Wave 6 which then predicted physical TDV at Wave 7. Additional mediators and moderators will be added to this basic model to test the full developmental model. Results support the notion that bullying perpetration during early adolescence predicts later sexual harassment and teen dating violence, and is influenced by sibling aggression and delinquency.
    Society for Prevention Research 22nd Annual Meeting 2013; 05/2014
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    Michele L Ybarra, Dorothy L Espelage, Kimberly J Mitchell
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    ABSTRACT: To examine whether (1) among youth who report being bullied, differential power and repetition are useful in identifying youth who are more or less affected by the victimization experience and (2) bullying and more generalized peer aggression are distinct or overlapping constructs. Data for the Teen Health and Technology study were collected online between August 2010 and January 2011 from 3,989 13- to 18-year-olds. Data from the Growing up with Media study (Wave 3) were collected online in 2008 from 1,157 12- to 17-year-olds. In the Teen Health and Technology study, youth who reported neither differential power nor repetition had the lowest rates of interference with daily functioning. Youth who reported either differential power or repetition had higher rates, but the highest rates of interference with daily functioning were observed among youth who reported both differential power and repetition. In the Growing up with Media study, youth were victims of online generalized peer aggression (30%) or both online generalized peer aggression and cyberbullying (16%) but rarely cyberbullying alone (1%). Both differential power and repetition are key in identifying youth who are bullied and at particular risk for concurrent psychosocial challenge. Each feature needs to be measured directly. Generalized peer aggression appears to be a broader form of violence compared with bullying. It needs to be recognized that youth who are victimized but do not meet the criteria of bullying have elevated rates of problems. They are an important, albeit nonbullied, group of victimized youth to be included in research.
    Journal of Adolescent Health 04/2014; · 2.97 Impact Factor
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    Sabina Low, Dorothy Espelage
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    ABSTRACT: Community violence exposure results in heightened risk for engaging in and being a victim of interpersonal violence. Despite this robust literature, few studies have specifically examined how the relation between community violence exposure, peer aggression, and victimization is modified by individual, peer, and familial influences (considered jointly). In the current study, we used risk and resiliency theory to examine links between community violence exposure and peer aggression and victimization. Impulsivity and parental monitoring were examined as potential moderators of the link between community violence exposure and outcomes, both directly and indirectly via deviant behavior. Survey data on bullying involvement, fighting, deviancy, parental monitoring, and impulsivity were collected on 3 occasions over an 18-month period among a large cohort of adolescents (N = 1,232) in 5th-7th grades. Structural equation modeling suggests that for both male and female adolescents, impulsivity exacerbates the effects of community violence exposure by increasing involvement in deviant behavior. Parental monitoring buffered the effects of community violence exposure on perpetration and victimization (for males and female adolescents) via reduced involvement in deviant behavior. Findings suggest that impulsivity and parental monitoring are implicated in modifying the effects of community violence exposure on both victimization and perpetration through deviancy, although deviancy is not as potent of a predictor for victimization. Thus, prevention efforts would seem to be optimally targeted at multiple ecological levels, including parental involvement and peer networks. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
    Journal of Counseling Psychology 03/2014; · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    Milena Batanova, Dorothy Espelage, Mrinalini Rao
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    Milena Batanova, Dorothy Espelage, Mrinalini Rao
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    ABSTRACT: Limited research has sought to understand early adolescents’ willingness to intervene in peer victimization as a function of their own responding to being victimized. The present study examined whether early adolescents’ attributions, affect, and coping responses to a victimization vignette were related to their willingness to intervene, and whether self-reported victimization moderated the aforementioned associations. Participants were 653 5th - 8th grade students (50.4% female, 58.5% Caucasian, 34.5% Hispanic) who completed a self-report survey that included a vignette asking students to imagine that they were victimized in school. Hierarchical regression analyses were conducted separately for boys and girls. Although attributions and affect showed no significant associations with students’ willingness to intervene, seeking social support coping was associated with greater willingness to intervene for both boys and girls, and problem-focused coping was associated with willingness to intervene for girls only. Unexpectedly, self-reported victimization was associated positively with both boys’ and girls’ willingness to intervene. Findings also revealed two unexpected two-way interactions between peer victimization and boys’ characterological self-blame and girls’ wishful thinking coping. Overall, study findings highlight the need for future research and anti-bullying programs to address how victimization could either motivate or discourage a student’s willingness to intervene.
    Journal of School Psychology. 03/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: This study examines socio-demographic characteristics and social-environmental factors associated with bullying during the elementary-to-middle school transition from a sample of 5th students (n = 300) in three elementary schools at Time 1. Of these, 237 participated at Time 2 as 6th grade students. Using cluster analyses, we found groups of students who reported no increase in bullying, some decrease in bullying, and some increase in bullying. Students who reported increases in bullying also reported decreases in school belongingness and teacher affiliation, and increases in teacher dissatisfaction. Students who reported decreases in bullying also reported decreases in victimization. These findings suggest that changes across the transition in students’ relations to school and their teachers are predictive of changes in bullying.
    Violence and Victims 01/2014; · 1.28 Impact Factor
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    Journal of LGBT Youth 01/2014; 11:1-19.
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    Michele L. Ybarra, Dorothy L. Espelage, Kimberly J. Mitchell
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose To examine whether (1) among youth who report being bullied, differential power and repetition are useful in identifying youth who are more or less affected by the victimization experience and (2) bullying and more generalized peer aggression are distinct or overlapping constructs. Methods Data for the Teen Health and Technology study were collected online between August 2010 and January 2011 from 3,989 13- to 18-year-olds. Data from the Growing up with Media study (Wave 3) were collected online in 2008 from 1,157 12- to 17-year-olds. Results In the Teen Health and Technology study, youth who reported neither differential power nor repetition had the lowest rates of interference with daily functioning. Youth who reported either differential power or repetition had higher rates, but the highest rates of interference with daily functioning were observed among youth who reported both differential power and repetition. In the Growing up with Media study, youth were victims of online generalized peer aggression (30%) or both online generalized peer aggression and cyberbullying (16%) but rarely cyberbullying alone (1%). Conclusions Both differential power and repetition are key in identifying youth who are bullied and at particular risk for concurrent psychosocial challenge. Each feature needs to be measured directly. Generalized peer aggression appears to be a broader form of violence compared with bullying. It needs to be recognized that youth who are victimized but do not meet the criteria of bullying have elevated rates of problems. They are an important, albeit nonbullied, group of victimized youth to be included in research.
    Journal of Adolescent Health. 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: This study examined whether childhood bullying victimization was associated with psychosocial and academic functioning at college. Participants: The sample consisted of 413 first-year students from a large Northeastern university. Methods: Students completed an online survey in February 2012 that included items assessing past bullying involvement, current psychosocial and academic functioning, and victimization experiences since arriving at college. Results: Regression analyses indicated that reports of past bullying and other peer victimization were associated with lower mental health functioning and perceptions of physical and mental health, but were not associated with perceptions of social life at college, overall college experience, or academic performance. Conclusions: Childhood bullying victimization is associated with poorer mental and physical health among first year college students. Colleges should consider assessing histories of bullying victimization, along with other past victimization exposures, in their service provision to students.
    Journal of American College Health 01/2014; 62:552-560. · 1.45 Impact Factor
  • Joshua R. Polanin, Dorothy L. Espelage
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    ABSTRACT: School bullying and delinquent behaviors are persistent and pervasive problems for schools, and have lasting effects for all individuals involved (Copeland et al., JAMA Psychiatry 70:419–426, 2013; Espelage et al., J Res Adolesc 24(2):337–349, 2013a). As a result, policymakers and practitioners have attempted to thwart these ill-effects using school-based interventions. Recent meta-analyses have found, however, that these programs produce only moderate effects (Ttofi and Farrington, J Exp Criminol 7:27–56, 2011). Consequently, it is important to investigate further the reasons for such findings. One promising analysis is to assess the relation between treatment intensity variables and program outcomes. Unfortunately, few treatment intensity variables have been utilized in the school-based prevention literature, and it is often cumbersome to model the relation between treatment intensity and outcomes. The purpose of this project, therefore, is to explicate novel measures of treatment intensity and delineate a relatively new meta-analytic technique to model the relation between the variables and program effects. The context for this project is a large-scale, multi-site, cluster-randomized trial; 36 schools and 3,616 students participated in three waves of data collection. The results indicated that, for the second wave of data collection, stronger treatment effects were found when teachers and program implementers spent a greater amount of time prepping lessons, provided additional financial resources, and received outside consultation and support.
    Journal of Behavioral Education 01/2014;
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    Lisa De La Rue, Dorothy L. Espelage
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    ABSTRACT: Date revised - 20140113, Last updated - 2014-01-14, SubjectsTermNotLitGenreText - No terms assigned
    Psychology of Violence 01/2014; · 1.83 Impact Factor

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