On a quest to support bullying interventions
Traci Wike,Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the VCU School of Social Work. She is the 2013 recipient of VCU’s Presidential Research Quest Fund Award, which provides funding for her research on the role of protective factors in interrupting trajectories of bullying and victimization in late childhood. Using data collected by the Institute for Education Sciences Social and Character Development Project, Wike will be evaluating how certain factors, such as positive relationships with peers affects whether or not children experience negative outcomes related to bullying and victimization.
Wike’s interest in children’s experiences stems from her social work practice experiences with children and youth. “In practice, I was often struck by the social dynamics at play within a group of youth, and how those interactions with peers influenced the development of aggressive behavior. Later I transitioned from studying aggressive behavior broadly to a more popular focus on bullying behavior, which specifically involves an imbalance in power between individuals.”
Her goal for this research is to move beyond examining risks for bullying and victimization and explore potential protective factors, or youth strengths that can be better leveraged in developing prevention programs. Wike hopes that this work can serve as a foundation for a larger study that gains the perspectives of youth on their bullying experiences and identify strengths to inform potential intervention strategies.