A collaborative program of research examines how self-identity, peer interaction, and cultural norms influence each other, particularly during experiences with:
• unjust treatment,
• revenge and reconciliation, and
• student-educator-peer cultural mismatch.
Past work on bullying-retaliation cycles and bystander contributions to aggression have helped me identify common processes or coping strategies that are applicable to other types of unjust treatment such as discrimination. Currently, my collaborators and I look at commonalities and variability in the responses of North American youth that have different ancestries and cultural histories. The Venn diagram below illustrates our how these elements might fit together.
School yard observations and conversations with educators and young people in the U.S. and Papua New Guinea have influenced my thinking. It is also informed by developmental social psychology, justice theory, and evolutionary concepts of environmental adaptation.
All scientists have favorite methodologies. Rigorous behavior observations and in-depth interviews provide ecological validity and rich insights that excite me. My last program evaluation used second-by-second coding of the playground behavior of 600 elementary students—a wonderful, but expensive undertaking. Our current project is a mixed-methods study with a multicultural sample of young people, shown below. Their insights will help us devise educator practices that better support the development and well-being of all students.
Cultural & Self-Identity Processes in the School Adjustment of North American Youth
Ph.D. University of Washington; Developmental Psychology
Post-doc NIH fellowship, Princeton University; Social Psychology
Frey, K. S., Higheagle Strong, Z., & Onyewuenyi, A. (in press). Individual and Class Norms Differentially Predict Proactive and Reactive Aggression: A functional analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology.
Frey, K. S., Pearson, C. R. & Cohen, D. (2015). Revenge is seductive if not always sweet: Why friends matter for bullying prevention. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 37, 25 - 35.
Frey, K. S., Newman, J. B., & Onyewuenyi, A. (2014). Aggressive forms and functions on school playgrounds: Profile variations in interactive styles, bystander actions, and victimization. Journal of Early Adolescence, 34, 285 - 310. doi:10.1177/0272431613496638
Frey, K. S., Jones, D., C., Hirschstein, M. K., & Edstrom, L. V. (2011). Teacher support of bullying prevention: The good, the bad and the promising. In D. L. Espelage & S. M. Swearer (Eds.). The handbook of school bullying: A North American perspective (pp. 266 – 277). New York: Routledge.
Frey, K. S., Newman, J. B., Nolen, S. B., & Hirschstein, M. K. (2010). Reducing bullying and contributing behavior: Addressing transactional relationships within the school social ecology. In Jimerson, S. R., Nickerson, A. B., Mayer, M. J., & Furlong, M. J. (Eds.) The handbook of school violence and school safety: International research and practice (pp. 403 – 416). New York: Routledge.
Low, S., Frey, K. S., & Brockman, C. (2010). Gossip on the playground: Changes associated with universal intervention, retaliation beliefs and supportive friendships. Special issue on relational aggression interventions in the schools: Innovative programming and next steps in research and practice. School Psychology Review, 39, 536 – 551.
Frey, K. S., & Nolen, S. B. (2010). Taking “Steps” Toward Positive Social Relationships: A Transactional Model of Intervention. In J. Meece & J. Eccles (Eds.), Handbook of schools, schooling, and human development (pp. 478 – 496). New York: Routledge.
Frey, K. S., Hirschstein, M. K., Edstrom, L. V. & Snell, J. L. (2009). Observed reductions in school bullying, nonbullying aggression, and destructive bystander behavior: A longitudinal evaluation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101, 466 – 481.
Hirschstein, M. K., Edstrom, L. V., Frey, K. S., Snell, J. L. & Mackenzie, E. P. (2007). Walking the talk in bullying prevention: Teacher implementation variables related to outcomes of the Steps to Respect program. School Psychology Review, 36, 3 – 21.
Frey, K. S., Hirschstein, M. K., Snell, J. L., Edstrom, L. V., MacKenzie, E. P. & Broderick, C. (2005). Reducing playground bullying and supporting beliefs: An experimental trial of the Steps to Respect program. Developmental Psychology, 41, 479 -491.
Frey, K. S., Nolen, S. B., VanSchoiak-Edstrom, L., & Hirschstein, M. (2005). Evaluating a school-based social competence program: Linking behavior, goals and beliefs. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 26, 171 – 200.
Selected Publications on Social Comparison and Perceived Competence
Altermatt, E. R., Pomerantz, E. M., Ruble, D. N., Frey, K. S., & Greulich, F. K. (2002). Predicting changes in children’s self-perceptions of academic competence: A naturalistic examination of evaluative discourse among classmates. Developmental Psychology, 38, 903 – 917.
Pomerantz, E., Ruble, D.N., Frey, K.S. & Greulich, F. (1995). Meeting goals and confronting conflict: Children's changing perceptions of social comparison. Child Development, 66, 723-738.
Frey, K.S., & Ruble, D.N. (1990). Strategies for comparative evaluation: Maintaining a sense of competence across the lifespan. In R. Sternberg & J. Kolligan (Eds.), Competence considered (pp. 167 – 189). New Haven, CT: Yale Press.
Frey, K.S., & Ruble, D.N. (1987). What children say about classroom performance: Sex and grade differences in perceived competence. Child Development, 58, 1066-1078.
Frey, K.S., & Ruble, D.N. (1985). What children say when the teacher is not around: Conflicting goals in social comparison and performance assessment in the classroom. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48, 18-30.
EDPSY 420: Bullying, Revenge & Belonging: Cultural perspectives on social power
A sense of belonging supports learning, productivity, and emotional well-being. Bullying is the use of coercion and manipulation to deny others access to the developmentally important benefits that belonging provides. At one time or another, virtually everyone participates in aggression as a perpetrator, target or bystander. This class will draw on developmental, social psychological, evolutionary and sociocultural research to understand how individual experiences, peers, organizations and culture influence bullying and retaliation cycles, and conversely, a compassionate human rights orientation. Systematic interventions can reduce environmental support for aggression, and build support for caring behaviors. Practical solutions and barriers to intervention will be addressed.