Supporting Victims of School Bullying: What Types of Help are Beneficial?
Hye-Young Yun

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Research Development Award

Award Year



University of California, Los Angeles

Primary Discipline

Educational Psychology
Although it seems reasonable to assume that receiving any type of help from peers would have a beneficial effect on a victim’s adjustment, my recent research has shown that in the case of school bullying, the association between receiving support and experiencing psychological distress is not straightforward. For students who experience bullying, having a peer publicly object to bullying behaviors reduces their depression, however, being comforted by a peer does not. While it is necessary to continue to encourage help-giving, it is essential to fully understand—from the perspective of victims—which types of help are most effective at decreasing victims’ distress. My project will propose and develop the “help-recipient attribution model,” which conceptualizes the cognitive-psychological processes that occur in bullying situations in the context of the complex relationships between victimization, type of peer support, causal attributions, classroom norms, racial/ethnic classroom composition, and school adjustment. Because victims often blame themselves for their plight, the study’s four aims are grounded in attributional cognitive processes: I will first identify the types of help that peers offer in bullying situations. Next, I will examine why certain types of help are more or less beneficial for victims’ adjustment as a function of characterological self-blame. Finally, I will integrate individual and contextual factors to test how the latter moderate the relationship between victimization and characterological self-blame. The findings will provide a detailed picture of the benefits of offering different types of support for bullied adolescents, and thus will have significant implications for anti-bullying interventions.
About Hye-Young Yun
Hye-Young Yun is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her overarching research interest is the social, behavioral, and psychological processes of youth (e.g., aggressive behavior, prosocial behavior, victimization) at school and the development and evaluation of intervention programs that employ a multilevel social-ecological approach, with a special focus on programs that address bullying situations. Her recent research has identified additional bystander roles in bullying situations (assertive defender, comforting defender, sympathetic outsider, indifferent outsider) and pinpointed the major characteristics associated with these roles. She is interested in highlighting the importance of both exploring heterogeneity in social behaviors and considering the influence of social norms and individual characteristics; in addition, she works to identify psychological processes, particularly among victimized youth, that drive the above-mentioned types of peer reactions. The ultimate goal of her research is to shed light on potential social policies that will promote healthy adjustment among youth in the school context. Hye-Young holds a BS in Biology from Ewha Womans University in South Korea and received her PhD in Human Development and Psychology from UCLA. Before joining UCLA as a post-doctoral scholar, Dr. Yun was a post-doctoral researcher at the INVEST Research Flagship Center/Psychology (KiVa anti-bullying program) at the University of Turku in Finland.

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