Adolescent bullying has been linked to school shootings, suicides, and currently in the news, a brutal beating of a teen girl for the purposes of making a video for the Web. Assistant Professor of Psychology Julie Kingery recently presented a research poster on the subject of adolescent bullying and exclusion at the Society for Research on Adolescence conference in Chicago, which took place from March 6 to the 9th. Kingery, her former graduate school adviser and one of her adviser's current students, presented, “The Association of Relational and Overt Victimization to Social Anxiety: The Importance of Adolescents’ Peer Experiences.”
Kingery's research examined relationships among social anxiety, interactions with close friends, social support from friends, and relational victimization, which involves indirect strategies such as social exclusion and manipulation. This study involved 191 9th through 12th grade adolescents from high schools in Maine.
Results of this study indicated that, in comparison to adolescents with low levels of social anxiety, those who reported high levels of social anxiety were more likely to experience relational victimization, had more negative interactions with friends and experienced less social support from their peers. For youth who were high in social anxiety, negative interactions within friendships were the strongest predictor of relational victimization.
Conclusions of the research pointed to the need to improve interactions with friends and/or social support in order to reduce relational victimization and potentially social anxiety – specifically because relational victimization correlates with other negative outcomes, such as depression, low self-esteem and low academic achievement.
“The research was well-received,” says Kingery. “Relational victimization is a hot topic in the field of adolescent psychology right now.”
This research, Kingery says, allowed her to combine her interests in childhood friendships, which she studied in graduate school at the University of Maine, and anxiety, which she focused on in her postdoctoral research at Johns Hopkins.
Kingery received her B.A. from the University of Richmond, her Ph.D. from the University of Maine and did her postdoctoral work at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She specializes in developmental and clinical psychology.
“Based on my training in developmental and clinical psychology,” Kingery says, “I approach my courses and scholarly pursuits from a multi-disciplinary perspective. In my teaching, I encourage students to develop an understanding of both normal and atypical patterns of development, as well as factors that promote resilience, leading to positive developmental outcomes.”