Dark Personality and Cyber Aggression Presentation Accepted for SEPA

Atlanta Night Skyline Wallpaper
We just had a presentation proposal accepted for the 63rd Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association, which will take place in Atlanta in March. Taylor Bolton a second-year master's student working in the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab, will present research based on her master's project. Taylor's research focuses on the role of dark personality traits in electronic aggression among college students.

One of the challenges in this area of research involves the lack of consensus in how electronic aggression (aka, cyber aggression, cyberbullying) should be defined and measured (Berne et al., 2013). Taylor is using what appears to be one of the better self-report measures available for emerging adults, the Cyberbullying Experiences Survey (Doane et al., 2013). We anticipate that her findings will provide useful information about the relationship between electronic aggression and offline relational aggression and between various dark personality traits and electronic aggression.

Congratulations, Taylor!
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How Mental Health Professionals Can Help With Bullying Prevention

Bully Free Zone
StopBullying.gov has assembled a useful training module on bullying prevention aimed at mental health professionals, Understanding the Roles of Mental Health Professionals in Community-Wide Bullying Prevention Efforts (.pdf file). It reviews information on bullying and its effects, explains many of the roles mental health professionals have in solving the problem of bullying, offers suggestions for how mental health professionals can involve others in their communities, and shares several helpful resources.

It is hoped that making information like this more accessible will allow mental health professionals to approach the complex subject of bullying in a more informed manner and to make a difference in their communities.
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Cyber Aggression Study Planned

cyber-bullying
It goes by many different names (e.g., cyberbullying, cyber aggression, electronic aggression), but the concept will be familiar to anyone who has interacted with others online. Slonje and Smith (2008) referred to a form of aggressive behavior "in which the aggression occurs through modern technological devices, and specifically mobile phones or the internet." Dilmaç (2009) described "an individual or group willfully using information and communication involving electronic technologies to facilitate deliberate and repeated harassment or threat to another individual or group by sending or posting cruel text and/or graphics using technological means."

Consensus definitions of these constructs have been elusive (Zalaquett & Chatters, 2014), and the lack of consistently used and psychometrically sound measures has made it difficult to compare findings across studies. As a result, many basic questions about the nature of cyber aggression remain unanswered.

The lab is planning to begin collecting data soon for a study on cyber aggression. We hope to evaluate one of the more promising measures for assessing this behavior among college students and learn something about its correlates. Given the mounting evidence that these behaviors are associated with a number of adverse correlates for both aggressors and targets (e.g., Beran et al., 2012; Gini & Pozzoli, 2013), we believe the topic is worth investigating.
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October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

bullying hurts
October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, and the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention have pulled together some useful resources for anyone struggling with bullying or seeking to learn what they can do to help minimize its impact (see stopbullying.gov).

Although work at the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab focuses on aggressive behavior among young adults and the term
bullying is generally reserved for children, we are happy to see this behavior receiving more attention. Not only does bullying take a toll on the health and well being of children and their families, but it is clear that the effects of bullying during childhood continue to impact people into their adult years.

Stopbullying.gov, a government website managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is developing an active social media presence at Tumbr, Facebook, and Twitter to raise awareness and provide information about this important topic.
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Effects of Bullying Persist Into Adulthood

We know that bullying and relational aggression can cause significant problems during childhood and early adolescence, but it also appears that these problems can persist into adulthood. The scientists interviewed in this video from the National Institute of Mental Health describe some of the findings on the effects of bullying in adulthood.

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