Research Assoc. Professor
What About Adolescents Currently Interests Us?
Adolescents want to feel that their actions are consistent with their ‘true self.’
They feel most authentic when their actions reflect a positive sociomoral identity.
Being a good friend is an important part of that identity.
Teens want to help when friends experience discrimination, bullying or other threats.
We look at how teens’ actions affect their friends and their own sociomoral identity.
We Learn from Ethnically and Culturally Diverse Partners
We are currently coding and analyzing interviews with 300 teens, evenly divided between
o African Americans,
o European Americans,
o Mexican Americans, and
o Native Americans.
We are preparing to interview teens, parents and educators about conflict management
& reconciliation strategies typical of their culture.
Examples of Questions We Ask
How do teens feel about themselves when they have calmed a threatened friend...
amplified anger... reconciled.... or avenged their friend?
What actions are most helpful for a teen who has experienced bullying or discrimination?
What goals do teens have when they try to help a friend?
How do cultural norms for conflict management influence desire to help friends....
and sometimes avenge them?
How do cultural differences in conflict management affect peer—educator relations?
Theoretical & Experiential Influences
School yard observations and conversations with teens in the U.S. & Papua New Guinea
Developmental social psychology, justice theory and resilience theory.
Favorite Research Methodologies
Behavior observations & in-depth interviews provide ecological validity & rich insights.
Both require qualitative coding.
Large data sets (e.g., observations of 600 students) require quantitative analyses.
Rigorous mixed methods examine links between context, behavior, emotions & beliefs.
Ph.D. University of Washington; Developmental Psychology
Post-doc NIH fellowship, Princeton University; Social Psychology
EDPSY 420: Bullying, Revenge & Belonging: Cultural perspectives on social power
A sense of belonging supports learning, productivity, and emotional well-being. Bullying is the use of coercion and manipulation to deny others access to the developmentally important benefits that belonging provides. At one time or another, virtually everyone participates in aggression as a perpetrator, target or bystander. This class will draw on developmental, social psychological, evolutionary and sociocultural research to understand how individual experiences, peers, organizations and culture influence bullying and retaliation cycles, and conversely, a compassionate human rights orientation. Systematic interventions can reduce environmental support for aggression, and build support for caring behaviors. Practical solutions and barriers to intervention will be addressed.
EDPSY 581: Seminar on Cultural Diversity in Conflict & Cooperation Strategies
Selected Publications on Bullying, Retaliation and Bystander Behavior
Frey, K. S., McDonald, K. L., Onyewuenyi, A. C., Germinaro, K., & Eagan, B. R. (in press). “I felt like a hero:” Adolescents’ understanding of resolution-promoting and vengeful actions on behalf of peers. Journal of Youth and Adolescence.
Frey, K. S., Higheagle Strong, Z., & Onyewuenyi, A., Pearson, C. R., & Eagan, B. R. (2020). Third-party intervention in peer victimization: Self-evaluative emotions and appraisals of a diverse adolescent sample. Journal of Research on Adolescence. doi: 10.1111/jora.12548.
Frey, K. S., & Higheagle Strong, Z. (2018). Aggression predicts changes in peer victimization that vary by form and function. Journal of Abnormal Child Development, 46, 305–318. doi:10.1007/s10802-017-0306-5
Frey, K. S., Higheagle Strong, Z., & Onyewuenyi, A. (2016). Individual and Class Norms Differentially Predict Proactive and Reactive Aggression: A functional analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 109, 179 – 190. doi:10.1037/edu0000118.
Frey, K. S., Pearson, C. R. & Cohen, D. (2015). Revenge is seductive if not always sweet: Why friends matter for bullying prevention. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 37, 25 - 35.
Frey, K. S., Newman, J. B., & Onyewuenyi, A. (2014). Aggressive forms and functions on school playgrounds: Profile variations in interactive styles, bystander actions, and victimization. Journal of Early Adolescence, 34, 285 - 310. doi:10.1177/0272431613496638
Frey, K. S., Jones, D., C., Hirschstein, M. K., & Edstrom, L. V. (2011). Teacher support of bullying prevention: The good, the bad and the promising. In D. L. Espelage & S. M. Swearer (Eds.). The handbook of school bullying: A North American perspective (pp. 266 – 277). New York: Routledge.
Frey, K. S., Newman, J. B., Nolen, S. B., & Hirschstein, M. K. (2010). Reducing bullying and contributing behavior: Addressing transactional relationships within the school social ecology. In Jimerson, S. R., Nickerson, A. B., Mayer, M. J., & Furlong, M. J. (Eds.) The handbook of school violence and school safety: International research and practice (pp. 403 – 416). New York: Routledge.
Low, S., Frey, K. S., & Brockman, C. (2010). Gossip on the playground: Changes associated with universal intervention, retaliation beliefs and supportive friendships. Special issue on relational aggression interventions in the schools: Innovative programming and next steps in research and practice. School Psychology Review, 39, 536 – 551.
Frey, K. S., & Nolen, S. B. (2010). Taking “Steps” Toward Positive Social Relationships: A Transactional Model of Intervention. In J. Meece & J. Eccles (Eds.), Handbook of schools, schooling, and human development (pp. 478 – 496). New York: Routledge.
Frey, K. S., Hirschstein, M. K., Edstrom, L. V. & Snell, J. L. (2009). Observed reductions in school bullying, nonbullying aggression, and destructive bystander behavior: A longitudinal evaluation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101, 466 – 481.
Hirschstein, M. K., Edstrom, L. V., Frey, K. S., Snell, J. L. & Mackenzie, E. P. (2007). Walking the talk in bullying prevention: Teacher implementation variables related to outcomes of the Steps to Respect program. School Psychology Review, 36, 3 – 21.
Frey, K. S., Hirschstein, M. K., Snell, J. L., Edstrom, L. V., MacKenzie, E. P. & Broderick, C. (2005). Reducing playground bullying and supporting beliefs: An experimental trial of the Steps to Respect program. Developmental Psychology, 41, 479 -491.
Frey, K. S., Nolen, S. B., VanSchoiak-Edstrom, L., & Hirschstein, M. (2005). Evaluating a school-based social competence program: Linking behavior, goals and beliefs. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 26, 171 – 200.
Selected Publications on Social Comparison and Perceived Competence
Altermatt, E. R., Pomerantz, E. M., Ruble, D. N., Frey, K. S., & Greulich, F. K. (2002). Predicting changes in children’s self-perceptions of academic competence: A naturalistic examination of evaluative discourse among classmates. Developmental Psychology, 38, 903 – 917.
Pomerantz, E., Ruble, D.N., Frey, K.S. & Greulich, F. (1995). Meeting goals and confronting conflict: Children's changing perceptions of social comparison. Child Development, 66, 723-738.
Frey, K.S., & Ruble, D.N. (1990). Strategies for comparative evaluation: Maintaining a sense of competence across the lifespan. In R. Sternberg & J. Kolligan (Eds.), Competence considered (pp. 167 – 189). New Haven, CT: Yale Press.
Frey, K.S., & Ruble, D.N. (1987). What children say about classroom performance: Sex and grade differences in perceived competence. Child Development, 58, 1066-1078.
Frey, K.S., & Ruble, D.N. (1985). What children say when the teacher is not around: Conflicting goals in social comparison and performance assessment in the classroom. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48, 18-30.