Dr. Leslie Echols

The middle school years are often tough for many children and bullying incidents peak in middle school.

Last week on the Missouri State Journal, psychologist Dr. Leslie Echols highlighted her current research focus on bullying and victimization, particularly among middle school students. She also talked about Powering Up, her joint research project with Dr. Sandra Graham from University of California – Los Angeles. It’s made possible by a grant of about half a million dollars from the National Science Foundation.

How do kids build friendships and navigate bullying in schools? Dr. Leslie Echols, Missouri State University associate professor of psychology, is trying to find out with her latest research project.

Victimization happens when a person is on the receiving end of cruel or unjust treatment.

According to a Science Daily article, “researchers estimate that as many as 75% of children and youth report experiencing some sort of peer victimization, with 10 to 15% experiencing more severe and prolonged victimization."

University Communications / Missouri State University

What makes someone a chronic victim of bullying? That’s what a Missouri State University professor is studying through the concept of victimization, or the victim’s point of view.

Dr. Leslie Echols, an assistant psychology professor, gathered first-hand accounts of aggression for her research in New York’s Harlem neighborhood and the cities of Los Angeles and Springfield. She found the likelihood of being bullied could depend on the characteristics of a person and those they associate with.