Bullying

Bullying is a group phenomenon and only can occur in a social context that allows it. The Center’s researchers examine how emotional intelligence skill development can help reduce bullying, whether it happens in school or online. By improving the emotional intelligence skills of bullies, targets, bystanders, and adults, the Center aims to create positive and safe emotional environments where bullying behaviors can no longer thrive. To prevent and reduce bullying, we need to equip adolescents and the adults in their lives with the emotional intelligence skills to deal with conflict. Teaching adolescents to recognize and understand their own emotional responses to difficult situations and to act in an intelligent, constructive manner will pave the way to better peer relations. Adults who are competent at handling difficult interpersonal issues not only model good behavior for adolescents, but also create a supportive school environment where bullying is not tolerated. We study ways to help adolescents develop the skills to respond to bullying. The Center engages in research and intervention efforts that examine the ways in which developing emotional intelligence can be used to address bullying and other interpersonal violence. Rather than creating systems that punish bullying, our approach aims to help all adolescents build skills that last.

Infusing Emotional Intelligence into Teens' Facebook Interactions

The Center collaborates with Facebook to understand negative interpersonal interactions, including bullying, on the social networking site. Together we incorporated emotional intelligence theory into the tools teens use to report troubling content on Facebook. As they make a report, teens now receive feedback about the emotional processes at play in the situation. Our partnership with Facebook helps us reach millions of adolescents in a major cyberbullying arena, and it lets us evaluate how this intervention helps them manage online conflict.

Classroom Climate, Emotional Intelligence, and Student Outcomes

Mounting evidence shows that positive classroom climate decreases negative peer interactions such as bullying, and it improves students’ academic achievement and mental health outcomes. Classroom climate depends on multiple ingredients, of which emotional intelligence is especially important. But it isn’t clear yet how these ingredients affect bullying, academic achievement, and mental health. We are studying how classroom climate and students’ emotional intelligence affect those outcomes.
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Testimonial

“I learned to put myself in another person's place. I think I learned the most from the word 'accepting' because I rarely used to accept people.”

—6th grade student


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