• Comment

UCA professors awarded NIH grant to study bullying

Posted: January 17, 2014 - 6:43pm

Three University of Central Arkansas professors have been awarded a $286,500 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study middle school bullying.

The Department of Psychology and Counseling Department announced that Drs. Paul Nail, Elson Bihm and Joan Simon have been awarded the grant entitled, “Decreasing Bullying with Self-Affirmation: A Test of the Compensation Model.”

Nail says that he first became interested in bullying from his study of organizational psychology.

According to Nail, “Leaders in dysfunctional organizations often bully employees, even when the consequences are in direct opposition to the organization’s stated goals. Our current research is directed toward finding and testing new ways to decrease bullying in middle school, hopefully before it becomes a deep-seated way of dealing with others.”

The duration of the grant is two years. The professors will specifically study the social relations in middle school children. The research will be conducted in conjunction with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

  • Comment
Comments (2) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
David 01/18/14 - 01:43 pm

Perhaps it's just the title of the grant that makes this seem like another small though continuing waste of tax dollars. Then again, maybe there will be opportunities for student employment. On the other hand, bullying is well represented in our literary history from its beginning until now as a "deep-seated way of dealing with others." If you decrease bullying in middle school, does it just show up in other areas of life anyway? As simple as we humans are, I don't think we have on - off switches for our natural behaviors.

BarbCKK 01/18/14 - 08:16 pm
Proactive Social Skills at Young Ages

I am glad to hear that research will be done for the middle school demographic, but hope that the focus will be on developing proactive policies, rather than teaching kids how to handle issues after the fact. I believe that to see changed behavior, more research is needed for the late preschool and early elementary demographic, with the focus on providing them with proactive tools to prevent negative/bullying behaviors from emerging.

We have a national bullying epidemic, and our current reactive measures of dealing with these issues haven't been working. Research since 2008 has been supporting social skills training, at young ages, as the missing link in bullying prevention. Social skills tools help implement important character values in young lives; equipping kids to reject bullying. At Cool Kind Kid, we have seen changed behavior as we redefine "cool." When kids learn that kind, caring, and respectful behaviors are cool, bullying then becomes uncool. Kids are engaged and excited to learn that they can be both kind and cool. They learn the kind kid is the cool kind, not the bully.
I would love to dialogue with you.
Barbara Gilmour

Back to Top