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Bullying and Aggressive Behaviour

Unit(s) of assessment: Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience

Research theme: Safety and Security of Citizens and Society

School: School of Social Sciences


The Bullying and Aggressive Behaviour group undertakes research that broadly reflects how bullying and aggressive behaviour is defined, experienced, and the psychological impact of involvement in such behaviours. As a group, we focus on a range of aggressive behaviours including peer victimisation, face-to-face bullying, cyberbullying, street harassment, and aggression in interpersonal relationships.

Group members are currently undertaking research that examines:

  • The bullying / banter distinction
  • Peer victimisation and coping
  • The individual impact of aggressive behaviour
  • Bystander perceptions of aggressive behaviour
  • Characteristics of perpetrators and targets in aggressive contexts
  • Individual differences in aggressive behaviours
  • The lived experience of online risks and fear of missing out
  • The impact of involvement in cyberbullying and perceptions of risk
  • Cyber dating abuse


Abell, L., Brewer, G., Qualter, P., & Austin, E. (2016). Machiavellianism, emotional manipulation, and friendship functions in women’s friendships. Personality and Individual Differences, 88, 108-113.

Abell, L., & Brewer, G. (2014). Machiavellianism, Self-Monitoring, Self-Promotion and Relational Aggression on Facebook. Computers in Human Behavior, 36, 258-262.

Brewer, G., & Abell, L. (2015). Machiavellianism in Long-Term Relationships: Competition, Mate Retention and Sexual Coercion. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 56, 357-62.

Betts, L. R., Harding, R., Peart, S., Sjölin, C., Wright, D., & Newbold, K. R. (in press). Adolescents’ experiences of street harassment: Creating a typology and assessing the emotional impact. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research.

Betts, L. R., Gkimitzoudis, T., Spenser, K. A., & Baguley, T. (2017). Examining the roles young people fulfil in five types of cyber bullying. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 34, 1080 – 1098.

Betts, L. R., Spenser, K. A., & Gardner, S. E. (2017). Adolescents' involvement in cyber bullying and perceptions of school: The importance of perceived peer acceptance for female adolescents. Sex Roles, 77, 471-481.

Betts, L. R., Houston, J. E., & Steer, O. L. (2015). Development of the Multidimensional Peer Victimisation Scale - Revised (MPVS-R) and the Multidimensional Peer Bullying Scale (MPVS-RB).  Journal of Genetic Psychology: Research and Theory on Human Development,176, 93-109.

Boulton, M. J., Boulton, L., Camerone, E., Hughes, J., Kirkbride, C., Macaulay, P. J. R., & Sanders, J. (2016). Enhancing primary school children's knowledge of online safety and risks with the CATZ Cooperative Cross-Age Teaching Intervention: results from a pilot study. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 19, 609-614.

Buglass, S., Binder, J. F., Betts, L. R., & Underwood, J. D. M. (2017). Looking for trouble: A multilevel analysis of disagreeable contacts in online social networks. Computers in Human Behavior, 70, 234-243.

Buglass, S. L., Binder, J. F., Betts, L. R., & Underwood, J. D. (2017). Motivators of Online Vulnerability: The Impact of Social Network Site Use and FOMO. Computers in Human Behaviour, 66, 248-255.

Buglass, S., Binder, J. F., Betts, L. R., & Underwood, J. D. M. (2016). When ‘friends’ collide: Social heterogeneity and user vulnerability on social network sites. Computers in Human Behavior, 54, 62-72.

Fido, D., Santo, M., Bloxsom, C., Gregson, M. & Sumich, A. (2017). Electrophysiological study of the violence inhibition mechanism in relation to callous-unemotional and aggressive traits. Personality and Individual Differences, 118, 44-49.

Dillon G. V., Underwood, J. D. M. & Freemantle, L. J. (2016) Autism and the U.K. secondary school experience. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 31, 221-230.

Gardner, S. E., Betts, L. R., Stiller, J., & Coates, J. (2017). The role of emotion regulation for coping with school-based peer-victimisation in late childhood. Personality and Individual Differences, 107, 108-113.

Heym, N., Ferguson, E., & Lawrence, C. (2013). The P-psychopathy continuum: facets of psychoticism and their associations with psychopathic tendencies. Personality and Individual Differences, 54, 773-778.

Mount, N., & Dillon, G. (2014). Parents' experiences of living with an adolescent diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Educational & Child Psychology, 31, 72-81.