Group Processes and Bullying Research

Prof. Antony Manstead

I completed my MSc and PhD at Cardiff University, UK from 2006-2011. I was supervised by Antony Manstead and Andrew Livingstone.


Dr. Andrew Livingstone

My MSc involved the development of measures for assessing group-based emotions in children, and using these measures to determine responses to a group-based bullying situation. The results are written up in the BJDP.

My PhD thesis investigated the role of group processes in children’s responses to bullying from the perspective of social identity and group-based emotion theories. It started by reviewing research on group-based emotions in adults’ intergroup relations, and on social identity processes in children. It was argued that studying children’s group-based emotions might enhance our understanding of group-level bullying.


Completing questionnaires

Initial results suggested that group-based emotions related to supporting and resisting cyberbullying depend upon children’s social identity, and that group-based emotions lead to specific action tendencies (Study 1). Wider group norms were investigated in Studies 2 and 3. In Study 2 the prevailing normative context shaped responses to bullying, while in Study 3 peer group norms had a greater influence than school norms on children’s responses to bullying.


Group membership information

The way that children manage their social identity in response to bullying was examined in Study 4. How strongly perpetrator’s group members identified with that group was determined by initial in-group identification and the perpetrator’s group norm. How group norms shape interpretations of bullying when it is ostensibly negative (Study 5a) or ostensibly positive (Study 5b) was studied next. It was found that certain group-based emotional responses and action tendencies were inhibited when the bullying was misaligned with group norms. Group processes in school bullying incidents were examined in Study 6. A qualitative analysis of teachers’ accounts of bullying revealed that although bullying is responded to primarily at the group level, such responses do not directly address group processes.

In Chapter 8 I drew the thesis together by highlighting the role that group processes play in children’s responses to bullying. Implications for anti-bullying work were discussed. It was concluded that successful intervention rests on awareness of the group processes (a) that lead children to become involved in bullying, and (b) by which bullying may be resisted.


Postgraduate Publications


Jones, S.E., Manstead, A.S.R., & Livingstone, A.G. (2012). Fair-weather or foul-weather friends? Group processes and children’ s responses to bullying. Social Psychology and Personality Science, 3, 414-420.

Jones, S.E., Bombieri, L., Manstead, A.S.R., & Livingstone, A.G., (2012). The role of norms and social identities in children’s responses to bullying. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 241-256.


Jones, S.E., Manstead, A.S.R., & Livingstone, A.G. (2011). Ganging up or sticking together? Group processes and children’s responses to bullying. British Journal of Psychology, 102, 71-96.


Jones, S.E., Manstead, A.S.R., & Livingstone, A.G. 2009. Birds of a feather bully together: Group processes and children’s responses to bullying. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 27, .853-876.


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