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Be a buddy, not a bully? A symposium on emotional and social processes related to bullying, defending and victimization

Wanneer:do 14-04-2016 09:00 - 13:45
Waar:Room B.0126, Grote Rozenstraat 31 and Academy building

On Thursday April 14th, Rozemarijn van der Ploeg will defend her PhD-thesis, entitled “Be a buddy, not a bully? Four studies on emotional and social processes related to bullying, defending and victimization.”

The defense will be preceded by a symposium with three leading researchers in the field of peer relations, presenting their views on bullying and its related processes. Everyone who is interested, is invited to attend the symposium. To facilitate planning of supplies, please confirm your attendance:

- members of the sociology department can confirm attendance through the electronic agenda
- other can register at

09:00-9:15 Welcome in room B.126 (Grote Rozenstraat 31)

09:15-10:00 Tony Volk
Tinbergen's Four Questions and Bullying: Combining the Puzzle Pieces

Bullying is a prevalent and complex phenomenon that causes significant harm across the globe. The complexity of bullying strongly suggests the need for multidisciplinary approaches that explore the issue from multiple perspectives. As such, I plan to draw upon Tinbergen’s (1963) recommendation of examining behaviors using questions from four domains. First, one must ask about the phylogeny of the behavior, or how it has developed over the course of human and evolutionary history. Second, one must ask about the ontogeny of the behavior, or how it develops within an individual’s lifetime. Third, one must ask about the mechanisms or causal factors that explain “why” there is a particular, immediate expression of the behavior. Finally, one must ask about the adaptation or function of the behavior or “why” it is worth expressing in more general terms. To address each of these domains data I will present data drawn from diverse sources (e.g., history, anthropology, sociology, biology, psychology, and neuroscience), including previous and ongoing research from my lab. My goal is to present a more complete multidisciplinary picture of bullying that can better inform current and future theory and intervention outcomes.

Tony Volk is an Associate Professor in the multidisciplinary Department of Child and Youth Studies at Brock University, Canada (

10:15-11:00 Jelle Sijtsema (Tilburg University)
Aggression and the balance between status and affection goals throughout the lifespan

Previous studies showed that status goals are important motivations for aggression. However, status goals have mostly been studied in isolation thereby ignoring the role of affection goals. In this presentation, I argue that normative life course changes affect both the salience of status and affection needs and changes in the means by which they are satisfied. Moreover, in order to satisfy both status and affection needs in the same relationship a considerable degree of behavioral inhibition is required. These hypotheses are tested in five samples comprising preadolescents, adolescents, and young and mature adults, by examining associations between status goals and aggression and the moderating role of affection goals. As hypothesized, status goals were associated with direct and indirect aggression in preadolescence, irrespective of affection goals. In adolescence, findings were mixed, but in one sample, status goals were directly linked to indirect aggression, whereas status goals were only associated with direct aggression when affection goals were weak. In early adulthood, status goals were associated with direct and indirect aggression when affection goals were weak, but only in young adults with low behavioral inhibition. In mature adults, only low behavioral inhibition, but not status and affection goals, was related to direct and indirect aggression. Together, these findings show the changing relationship between status goals and aggression across the life course.

11:15-12:00 Christina Salmivalli (University of Turku, Finland)
KiVa Antibullying Program in Finland: Experiences after Seven Years of Implementation

After a large randomized controlled trial providing evidence of the positive effects of the KiVa antibullying program, the program was successfully scaled up in Finnish schools since 2009 and is now being implemented by 90% of schools (N=2305) providing basic education. Annual data from students and school personnel have been collected by online surveys. The changes in bullying perpetration and victimization across the years are presented and related to some key indicators of school commitment to the program and its active implementation. Challenges in sustainable implementation of school-based programs such as KiVa are discussed.

12.45-13.45 Academie Gebouw: promotie Rozemarijn van der Ploeg
Be a buddy, not a bully? Four studies on emotional and social processes related to bullying, defending, and victimization

Why is it that bullies bully? And what makes bystanders intervene? This dissertation sheds light on the emotional and social processes related to bullying, defending, and victimization in primary schools. The victims’ psychosocial well-being and the effectiveness of the Support Group Approach in altering the victim’s situation are investigated using innovative measures and research designs. Moreover, this dissertation gives insight into the mechanisms underlying bullying and defending behavior, while specifically focusing on the role of perceived popularity in the classroom.