Dorothy L Espelage

Clinical Psychology

Ph.D.
39.03

Publications

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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To address the complexity of violence in the homes, schools, and neighborhoods of individuals, we need to shift our level of analysis from individuals to collectives and we need to direct research to prevention efforts. Thus, we argue for an ecological approach that emphasizes the influence of the collective systems (e.g., culture) and focuses on the interconnectedness between individual health and collective well-being. Key Points: Research on violence prevention has found strong evidence to suggest the importance of the family, peers, school, and neighborhood systems in reducing violent behaviors among children and adolescents (see Huston &Bentley, 2010 for a review). However, the impact of the cultural system is, in comparison, lesser known. As such, we need a theoretical framework that emphasizes culture as an important mechanism for change. In this paper, we will first briefly identify gaps in Bronfenbrenner's (1979, 1994) ecological systems theory, one of the most widely used frameworks to understand violence in context. Next, we will describe a community-based ecological approach (Kelly, 1968; Trickett, Kelly, &Vincent, 1983) and illustrate how such an approach with an emphasis on the cultural system builds upon and expands Bronfenbrenner's model of contextual influences on violence prevention. Conclusion: Finally, we will provide a few examples of prevention that are consistent with the community-based ecological approach.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Psychology of Violence
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    Dorothy L Espelage

    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015
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    Dorothy L Espelage
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    ABSTRACT: Research focused on sexual orientation and gender identity among youth is scarce in school psychology journals. Graybill and Proctor (2016; this issue) found that across a sample of eight school support personnel journals only .3 to 3.0% of the articles since 2000 included lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT)-related research. It appears that special issues are a mechanism for publishing LGBT-related scholarship. This commentary includes a call for more research in school psychology and other related disciplines that intentionally addresses experiences of LGBT youth and their families. Two articles in this special section are summarized and critiqued with clear directions for future scholarship. Researchers and practitioners are ethically responsible for engaging in social justice oriented research and that includes assessing gender identity and sexual orientation in their studies and prevention program evaluations.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Journal of School Psychology
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    Sharon Y. Tettegah · Dorothy L. Espelage

    Full-text · Dataset · Nov 2015
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    D. Espelage

    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper, we review and critique current bully prevention efforts. This work presents an integrative, narrative review of bully prevention and school climate improvement research. We suggest that targeted bully prevention programs and curricular-based efforts are marginally helpful. We suggest that a continuous process of school climate improvement needs to be an integral and organizing anchor for effective bully prevention and school improvement efforts. Based on our collective experience with complex group phenomena, as well as an understanding of recent school improvement and violence prevention research, we outline a series of comprehensive, research-based guidelines that subsume targeted efforts within more comprehensive approaches that promote positive, sustained school climates. Such approaches not only prevent bully-victim-bystander behavior but also promote safe, supportive, responsible, engaging, flourishing and democratically informed school communities.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015
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    Gabriel J. Merrin · Jun Sung Hong · Dorothy L Espelage
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    ABSTRACT: This study examines the risk and protective factors for gang involvement among subgroups of youth (i.e., current or former gang members, youth who resisted gang membership, and non-gang-involved youth) using the social-ecological framework. 17,366 middle and high school students from school districts in a large Midwestern county participated. Results indicated that males were more likely than females to be involved in gangs. For the individual context, our findings indicate that racial and ethnic minorities, females, and youth with depression/suicidal ideation are likely to be at risk for gang involvement. For the family context, we found that having gang-involved family members and family dysfunction are related to youth gang involvement. For the peer context, peers’ alcohol and drug use and bullying were significantly associated with gang involvement. For the school context, as our results demonstrate, youth who perceived fair treatment from teachers and other adults in school and those with a sense of belonging in school are more likely to avoid gang membership. For the neighborhood context, we found that presence of adult support in the neighborhood and perceived neighborhood safety are negatively associated with gang membership. Findings suggest that gang prevention efforts need to target multiple ecologies that surround and influence youth.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · American Journal of Orthopsychiatry
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    ABSTRACT: The current study investigated demographic variables, sense of belonging, and social supports as predictors for involvement in bullying for students with specific learning disabilities (SLD) and students without disabilities. Although these student groups are characteristically different, results suggested involvement in bullying was invariant. However, gender, race, grade point average, and participation in extracurricular activities emerged as significant predictors for involvement in the bullying dynamic. In addition, increased peer social support was found to be the most significant predictor of decreased bullying, victimization, fighting, and anger for both students with SLD and students without disabilities. Educational implications include the suggestion that schools adopt multitiered antibullying programs that foster increased social supports and peer acceptance and incorporate targeted interventions for at-risk subpopulations of students.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Journal of Learning Disabilities
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    ABSTRACT: Extant scholarship has primarily examined demographic predictors of teacher victimization. Teacher multiple victimization, or the extent to which teachers experience multiple types of violence, has not been examined. Using social-ecological theory, we examine correlates of violence among 2,324 teachers who reported having been victimized at least once. Male teachers were more likely to report student-generated multiple victimization, and White teachers were more likely to experience multiple forms of violence generated by students and parents. Teacher attributions also played an important role. Characterological and behavioral self-blame were associated with higher colleague and student-generated multiple victimization, respectively. Regarding contextual variables, teachers who reported less administrative support were more likely to report multiple forms of violence by students and colleagues, and teachers working in urban settings reported more student-generated multiple victimization. This study underscores the importance of accounting for individual and contextual factors. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Journal of School Violence
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    Philip C Rodkin · Dorothy L Espelage · Laura D Hanish
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    ABSTRACT: This article reviews current research on the relational processes involved in peer bullying, considering developmental antecedents and long-term consequences. The following themes are highlighted: (a) aggression can be both adaptive and maladaptive, and this distinction has implications for bullies' functioning within peer social ecologies; (b) developmental antecedents and long-term consequences of bullying have not been well-distinguished from the extant research on aggressive behavior; (c) bullying is aggression that operates within relationships of power and abuse. Power asymmetry and repetition elements of traditional bullying definitions have been hard to operationalize, but without these specifications and more dyadic measurement approaches there may be little rationale for a distinct literature on bullying-separate from aggression. Applications of a relational approach to bullying are provided using gender as an example. Implications for future research are drawn from the study of relationships and interpersonal theories of developmental psychopathology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · American Psychologist
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    Dorothy L. Espelage · Chad A. Rose · Joshua R. Polanin
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    ABSTRACT: Results of a 3-year randomized clinical trial of Second Step: Student Success Through Prevention (SS-SSTP) Middle School Program on reducing bullying, physical aggression, and peer victimization among students with disabilities are presented. Teachers implemented 41 lessons of a sixth- to eighth-grade curriculum that focused on social-emotional learning (SEL) skills, including empathy, bully prevention, communication skills, and emotion regulation. Two school districts in a larger clinical trial provided disability information. All sixth-grade students (N = 123) with a disability were included in these analyses, including intervention (n = 47) and control (n = 76) conditions. Linear growth models indicated a significant intervention effect for bully perpetration; compared with students in the control condition, intervention students’ bullying perpetration scale scores significantly decreased across the 3-year study (δ = −.20, 95% confidence interval = [−.38, −.03]). SEL offers promise in reducing bully perpetration among students with disabilities.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Remedial and Special Education
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    Dorothy L Espelage

    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015
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    Jun Sung Hong · Dorothy L. Espelage · Paul R. Sterzing
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    ABSTRACT: This study examines ecological level correlates of adverse peer relationships among early adolescents (ages 12-14). Data analysis was conducted using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY). The sample was drawn from the mother-child data set, which included youth who in 2002 or 2004 were living with their mothers and enrolled in school. Eligible participants responded to at least 1 of the 13 items from the survey and their mothers responded to at least 1 of the 2 items measuring adverse peer relationships at Times 1 (2002/2004) and 2 (2004/2006). Multivariate hierarchical logistic regression was estimated. The presence of a learning disorder and adverse peer relationships at Time 1 (socio-demographics), perceptions of school environment (microsystem), and area of residence and perceptions of safety (exosystem) were all significantly associated with adverse peer relationships at Time 2. Assessing and targeting these ecological levels hold the potential to decrease adverse peer relationships among early adolescents.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Youth & Society
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    David Scott Yeager · Carlton J Fong · Hae Yeon Lee · Dorothy L Espelage
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    ABSTRACT: Highly visible tragedies in high schools thought to involve bullying have directly contributed to public support for state-mandated K-12 anti-bullying programming. But are existing programs actually effective for these older adolescents? This paper first outlines theoretical considerations, including developmental changes in (a) the manifestation of bullying, (b) the underlying causes of bullying, and (c) the efficacy of domain-general behavior-change tactics. This review leads to the prediction of a discontinuity in program efficacy among older adolescents. The paper then reports a novel meta-analysis of studies that administered the same program to multiple age groups and measured levels of bullying (k = 19, with 72 effect sizes). By conducting a hierarchical meta-analysis of the within-study moderation of efficacy by age, more precise estimates of age-related trends were possible. Results were consistent with theory in that whereas bullying appears to be effectively prevented in 7th grade and below, in 8th grade and beyond there is a sharp drop to an average of zero. This finding contradicts past meta-analyses that used between-study tests of moderation. This paper provides a basis for a theory of age-related moderation of program effects that may generalize to other domains. The findings also suggest the more general need for caution when interpreting between-study meta-analytic moderation results.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology
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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 &
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of School Violence
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    Sarah J. Rinehart · Dorothy L. Espelage
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Using multiinformant, multilevel modeling, this study examines the association between teacher/staff perceptions of school environment and student reports of homophobic name-calling and sexual harassment. Method: Surveys were conducted with 1,447 teachers/staff and 3,616 6th grade students across 36 middle schools in the Midwest. Results: Bivariate associations revealed that when teachers perceive schools as committed to bullying prevention, students reported less homophobic name-calling perpetration, sexual harassment perpetration, and sexual harassment victimization. When adults reported positive staff/student interactions, students endorsed lower levels of homophobic name-calling perpetration and victimization and less sexual harassment perpetration. Higher teacher/staff reported gender equity was correlated with less homophobic name-calling perpetration and victimization and sexual harassment perpetration. In a model with all school environment scales entered together, school commitment to prevent bullying was associated with less sexual harassment perpetration; in addition, higher gender equity and intolerance of sexual harassment at the school level was associated with fewer experiences of homophobic name-calling perpetration and victimization and sexual harassment perpetration. Conclusions: Efforts to address gendered harassment should include support from the school administration and professional development opportunities for all teachers and staff. Adults in the school should create a culture that is intolerant of sexual harassment and supports equality between the girls and boys in the school. (PsycINFO Database Record
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015
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    Dorothy L Espelage · Sabina Low · Joshua R Polanin · Eric C Brown
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    ABSTRACT: School-based social-emotional (SEL) programs that address interpersonal conflict and teach emotion management have succeeded in reducing youth aggression among elementary school youth, with few studies in middle schools. Results of a two-year cluster-randomized (36 schools) clinical trial of Second Step Middle School Program (Committee for Children, 2008) on reducing aggression and victimization are presented. Teachers implemented 28 lessons (6th & 7th-grade) that focused on social emotional learning skills (e.g., empathy, problem-solving). All 6th graders (n = 3658) completed self-report measures assessing bullying, aggression, homophobic name-calling and sexual harassment at three waves. Multilevel analyses revealed significant intervention effects for two of the seven outcomes. Students in intervention schools were 56% less likely to self-report homophobic name-calling victimization and 39% less likely to report sexual violence perpetration than students in control schools in one state. SS-SSTP holds promise as an efficacious program to reduce homophobic name-calling and sexual violence in adolescent youth.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Journal of American College Health
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology
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    Dorothy L. Espelage
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    ABSTRACT: Bronfenbrenner's (1977)7. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1977). Toward an experimental ecology of human development. American Psychologist, 32, 513–531.[CrossRef], [Web of Science ®]View all references classic ecological theory is used as a framework to review the documented risk and protective factors associated with involvement in school-related bullying during childhood and adolescence. Microsystems such as peers (socialization during adolescence), family (violence, lack of parental monitoring), community (exposure to violence), and schools (teacher attitudes, climate) contribute to the rates of bullying perpetrated or experienced by youth. The interaction between components of the microsystem is referred to as the mesosystem, and offers insight into how contexts can exacerbate or buffer experiences for youth who are involved in bullying (e.g., family support can buffer impact of peer victimization). Recommendations are provided for teachers and other adults who work with youth.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Theory Into Practice

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