My research program focuses on bullying, victimization, healthy relationships, and knowledge mobilization – moving research into practise and practise into research. Over the past 30 years, I have examined bullying and victimization from a developmental psychopathology perspective. I argue that this type of aggressive behaviour merits attention because it underlies many problems related to interpersonal violence. From a developmental perspective, the lessons learned in bullying within peer relationships generalize to other developmentally significant relationships, such as romantic and familial relationships. My current research projects include: understanding the biological, psychological, and social correlates of cyberbullying, peer victimization, peer defending and teen dating violence; investigating the role of shame in bullying and the associated mental health consequences; and evaluating knowledge mobilization of bullying research and its impact. More information on my knowledge mobilization work can be found at www.prevnet.ca (Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network).
My secondary area of research is on teen dating violence. Students, parents, teachers, school administrators and community agencies have a shared responsibility to promote positive relationships, prevent dating violence, and create healthy school climates. Educators are faced with challenging situations involving unhealthy relationships, such as dating violence. Currently, there is a lack of research on what is the content of the training that preservice teachers and practicing teachers require; on how preservice educators implement this training when they gain employment; on what is the most effective way to provide this training to teachers; and how best to get these much needed resources to educators. I am examining how to enhance preservice and service educators’ capacity and competencies to prevent dating violence and promote healthy relationships through a gender-based lens by providing new training, new resources, and new methods of disseminating the training. Through PREVNet, we lead a Community of Practice of 21 intervention projects addressing teen dating violence.