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Dorothy Espelage

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Counseling Psychology, Indiana University, 1997
  • M.A., Clinical Psychology, Radford University, 1993
  • B.S., Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1991

Key Professional Appointments

  • Professor, Educational Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2007-present
  • Associate Professor, Educational Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004-2007
  • Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology, Counseling Psychology Division, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1997-2004

Activities & Honors

  • Editorial Board Member, Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 2005-present
  • Best in Science Award, American Psychological Association, Division 17, 2014
  • Edward William Gutgsell & Jane Marr Gutgsell Endowed Professor, University of Illinois, 2013-2014
  • Lifetime Achievement Award for Prevention, American Psychological Association, Division 17, 2013
  • College of Education Hardie Fellow, University of Illinois, 2013
  • College of Education Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award, College of Education, 2013
  • Incoming Vice President, AERA Division E, 2010-2013
  • University Scholar, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2005-2008
  • Secretary, Division E, American Educational Research Association, 2005-2007
  • Fellow Status, American Psychological Association Division 17 (Society of, Society of Counseling Psychology, American Psychological Association, 2005-2006
  • University of Illinois Campus Award for Excellence in Off-Campus Teaching, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004-2005
  • Division 17 (Counseling Psychology) Fritz Linn & Kuder Early Scientist/Practitioner Career Award, American Psychological Association, 2004
  • Incomplete List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1997-2003
  • R. Stewart Jones Award for Outstanding Teacher in Educational Psychology, Unknown, 2001-2002
  • Teacher of the Year, Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society, College of Education, 2001
  • Distinguished Teaching Award, Delta Sigma Omicron, College of Education, 2000
  • R. Stewart Jones Award for Outstanding Teacher in Educational Psychology, College of Education, 1998-1999
  • Paul Munger Award - Outstanding Graduate Student, Indiana University, 1996

Research Statement

Dorothy L. Espelage, Ph.D., is an Edward William Gutgsell & Jane Marr Gutgsell Endowed Professor and Hardie Scholar of Education, in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is an University Scholar and has fellow status in Division 17 (Counseling Psychology) and recent recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in Prevention Science of the American Psychological Association. She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Indiana University in 1997. She has conducted research on bullying, homophobic teasing, sexual harassment, dating violence, and gang violence for the last 20 years. As a result, she presents regularly at regional, national, and international conferences and is author on over 120 peer-reviewed journal articles and 25 chapters. She is Associate Editor of the Journal of Counseling Psychology, Immediate Past Vice-President of Division E (Counseling/Human Development) of the American Educational Research Association, and co-Director of the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence. She has presented thousands of workshops and in-service training seminars for teachers, administrators, counselors, and social workers across the U.S. Her research focuses on translating empirical findings into prevention and intervention programming and she has secured five million dollars of external funding. She just completed a CDC-funded study that included a randomized clinical trial of a social emotional learning prevention program in 36 middle schools to reduce aggression. National Institute of Justice is funding her to track these kids to examine whether these effects remain as kids navigate challenges of high school. CDC is funding another RCT of this program in comparison to a gender-enhanced social-emotional program in 32 Illinois middle schools. She is also funded by National Science Foundation to develop better methods to assess bullying among adolescents and NIJ is funding a longitudinal study of predictors of bullying and dating violence among adolescents. She joins as co-PI with RAND colleagues on a 4-year NIH grant to improve methods to examine adolescent social network influences on risky alcohol and drug use. She authored a 2011 White House Brief on bullying among LGBTQ youth and attended the White House Conference in 2011. Dr. Espelage has appeared on many television news and talk shows, including The Today Show; CNN; CBS Evening News; The Oprah Winfrey Show, Anderson, Anderson 360 and has been quoted in the national print press, including Time Magazine, USA Today, People, Boston Globe, and the Wall Street Journal. Her dedicated team of undergraduate and graduate students are committed to the dissemination of the research through various mechanisms (


  • Principal Investigator, Effects of a Middle School Social-Emotional Learning Program on Teen Dating Violence, Sexual Violence, and Substance Use in High School, National Institute of Justice, 2013-2016
  • Principal Investigator, Bullying, Sexual, and Dating Violence Trajectories from Early to Late Adolescence, National Institute of Justice, 2012-2014
  • Co-Principal Investigator, Analyzing Partially Observable Computer-Adolescent Networks, National Science Foundation, 2010-2011
  • Principal Investigator, Multi-site Evaluation of Second Step: Student Success Through Prevention (Second Step -SSTP) in Preventing Bullying and Sexual Violence, Centers for Disease Control, 2009-2013
  • Senior Personnel, CDI-Type II: Collaborative Research: Groupscope: Instrumenting Research on Interaction Networks in Complex Social Contexts, National Science Foundation, 2009-2014
  • Principal Investigator, Middle School Bullying & Sexual Violence: Measurement Issues & Etiological Models, Centers for Disease Control, 2007-2011
  • Principal Investigator, Bullying as a Peer Group Process During Early Adolescence, Campus Research Board, 1999-present
  • Principal Investigator, Validation of a Disease-Specific Quality of Life Questionnaire for Cystic Fibrosis, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (University of Florida), 1999-2000
  • Fellow, Faculty Fellow, Bureau of Educational Research, 1999-2000
  • Principal Investigator, Arnold O. Beckman Award, Campus Research Board, 1998-present

Select Publications

  • Ybarra, M., Espelage, D., Martin, S. Unwanted sexual and harassing experiences: From School to Text Messaging. Journal of Adolescent Health.
  • Murthi, M., Espelage, D. Sexual harassment: Gender violence in the Indian context. Sex Roles.
  • Espelage, D., Low, S., Polanin, J., Brown, E. (2014). Clinical trial of Second Step© middle-school program: Impact on aggression & victimization. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.
  • Batanova, M., Espelage, D., Rao, M. (2014). An examination of early adolescents’ willingness to intervene: what roles do attributions, affect, coping, and self-reported victimization play? Journal of School Psychology, 52, 279-293.
  • Espelage, D., Anderman, E., Brown, V., Jones, A., Lane, K., McMahon, S., Reddy, L., Reynolds, C. (2013). Understanding and preventing violence directed against teachers: Recommendations for a national research, practice, and policy agenda. American Psychologist(Feb-March), 75-87.
  • Espelage, D., Poteat, V. (2012). School-based prevention of peer relationship problems. The Oxford Handbook of Counseling Psychology. Oxford University Press: New York.
  • Robinson, J., Espelage, D. (2012). Bullying Explains Only Part of LGBTQ-Heterosexual   Risk Disparities : Implications for Policy and Practice. Educational Researcher, 41(8), 309 – 319.
  • Robinson, J., Espelage, D. (2011). Inequities in educational and psychological outcomes between LGBTQ and straight students in middle and high school. Educational Researcher, 315-330.
  • Swearer, S., Espelage, D. (2011). A social-ecological framework of bullying among youth. Bullying in North American schools. Routledge: New York.
  • Lee, S., Hong, J., Espelage, D. (2010). An ecological understanding of youth suicide in South Korea. School Psychology International, 31(5), 531-546.
  • Swearer, S., Espelage, D., Vaillancourt, T., Hymel, S. (2010). Challenges facing educators and researchers regarding school bullying:  Linking research to educational practice. Educational Researcher, 39(1), 38-47.
  • Rose, C., Monda-Amaya, L., Espelage, D. (2010). Bullying perpetration and victimization in special education: A review of the literature. Remedial and Special Education.
  • Espelage, D., Swearer, S. (2010). A social-ecological model for bullying prevention and intervention: Understanding the impact of adult communities children live in. The handbook of bullying in schools: An international perspective. Routledge: New York.
  • Espelage, D., Swearer, S. (2010). Bullying and peer harassment. Interventions for achievement and behavior in a three-tier model including RTI. Springer Publishing: New York.
  • Poteat, V., Aragon, S., Espelage, D., Koenig, B. (2009). Psychosocial concerns of sexual minority youth: Complexity and caution in group differences. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 77(1), 196-201.
  • Birkett, M., Espelage, D., Koenig, B. (2009). LGB and questioning students in schools: The moderating effects of homophobic bullying and school climate on negative outcom es. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38(7), 989–1000.
  • Swearer, S., Espelage, D., Napolitano, S. (2009). Bullying prevention and intervention. Guilford Publications: New York.
  • Poteat, V., Espelage, D., Koenig, B. (2009). Willingness to remain friends and attend school with lesbian and gay peers: Relational expressions of prejudice among heterosexual youth. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38(7), 952-962.
  • Basile, K., Espelage, D., Rivers, I., McMahon, P., Simon, T. (2009). The theoretical and empirical links between bullying behavior and male sexual violence perpetration. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 14(5), 336-347.
  • Rose, C., Espelage, D., Monda-Amaya, L. (2009). Bullying and victimization rates among students in general and special education: A comparative analysis. Educational Psychology, 29(7), 761-776.
  • Mayberry, M., Espelage, D., Koenig, B. (2009). Multilevel modeling of direct effects and interactions of peers, parents, school, and community influences on adolescent substance use. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38(8), 1038-1049.
  • Espelage, D., Swearer, S. (2008). Addressing research gaps in the intersection between homophobia and bullying. School Psychology Review, 37, 155-159.
  • Espelage, D., Horne, A. (2008). School violence and bullying prevention: From research based explanations to empirically based solutions. Handbook of counseling psychology. John Wiley and Sons: Hoboken, NJ.
  • Espelage, D., Aragon, S., Birkett, M. (2008). Psychological adjustment and sexualorientation during adolescents: Do parents and teachers help? School Psychology Review.
  • Poteat, P., Espelage, D., Green, H. (2007). The socialization of dominance: Peer group contextual effects on heterosexist and dominance attitudes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(6), 1040-1050.
  • Espelage, D., Holt, M., Isaia, A. (2007). Dating violence among high school students--Understanding the roles of attachment, self-esteem, dominance, and need for interpersonal control. Intimate partner violence. Civic Research Institute: Kingston, NJ.
  • Espelage, D., Wasserman, S., Fleisher, M. (2007). Social networks and violent behavior. The Cambridge handbook of violent behavior. Cambridge University Press: New York.
  • Mayberry, M., Espelage, D. (2006). Associations among empathy, social competence, and reactive/proactive subtypes. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 36(6), 787 - 798.
  • Breen, H., DeSilva, P., Espelage, D. (2006). The role of medical nutrition therapy in treatment of disordered eating. Journal of Clinical Nutrition, [Electronic Version]. Retrieved from www.currentmedicalliterature. com.
  • Swearer, S., Peugh, J., Espelage, D., Siebecker, A., Kingsbury, W., Bevins, K. (2006). A social-ecological model for bullying prevention and intervention in early adolescence. Handbook of school violence & school safety. Erlbaum: Mahwah, NJ.
  • Hund, A., Espelage, D. (2006). Childhood emotional abuse and disordered eating among undergraduate females: Mediating influence of alexithymia, distress, and dissociation. Child Abuse & Neglect, 30(4), 393-407.
  • VanBoven, A., Espelage, D. (2006). Influence of depression on coping assessment and disordered eating among college females. Journal of Counseling and Development, 84(3), 341-348.
  • Holt, M., Espelage, D. (2005). Peer victimization among adolescents: A preliminary perspective on the co-occurrence of sexual harassment, dating violence, and bullying victimization. Victimization of children and youth: Patterns of abuse and response strategies. Civic Research Institute: Kingston, NJ.
  • Hund, A., Espelage, D. (2005). Relationship between childhood sexual abuse and disordered eating: Alexithymia, dissociation, and negative affect as potential mediators. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52, 559-573.
  • Hale, C., Hannum, J., Espelage, D. (2005). The influence of different sources of social support on physical health. Journal of College Student Health, 53, 276-284.
  • Murthi, M., Espelage, D. (2005). Association among childhood sexual abuse, social support, and loss. Child Abuse & Neglect, 29, 1215-1231.
  • Poteat, V., Espelage, D. (2005). Exploring the relation between bullying and homophobic verbal content: The Homophobic Content Agent Target (HCAT) scale. Violence and Victims, 20, 513-528.
  • Glomb, S., Espelage, D. (2005). Restrictive emotionality and the appraisal of sexual harassment. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 6, 240-253.
  • Holt, M., Espelage, D. (2005). Social support as a moderator between dating violence victimization and depression/anxiety among African-American and Caucasian adolescents. School Psychology Review, 34(3), 309-328.
  • Espelage, D., Mebane, S., Adams, R. (2004). Empathy, caring, and bullying: Toward an understanding of complex associations. Bullying in American schools: A social ecological perspective on prevention and intervention. Erlbaum: Mahwah, NJ.
  • Gerlach, J., Espelage, D. (2004). Exercise, coping, and disordered eating. Eating Behaviors, 5, 337-351.
  • Espelage, D. (2004). Preventing bullying among school-age children. The Prevention Researcher, 11, 3-6.
  • Swearer, S., Espelage, D. (2004). An ecological framework of bullying among youth. Bullying in American schools: A social ecological perspective on prevention and intervention. Erlbaum: Mahwah, NJ.
  • Espelage, D., Mebane, S., Swearer, S., Turner, R. (2004). Gender differences in bullying: Moving beyond mean level differences. Bullying in American schools: A social ecological perspective on prevention and intervention. Erlbaum: Mahwah, NJ.
  • Breen, H., Espelage, D. (2004). Nutrition expertise in eating disorder. Eating & Weight Disorders: Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia, and Obesity, 9, 120-125.
  • Cauffman, E., Piquero, A., Broidy, L., Espelage, D., Mazerolle, P. (2004). Heterogeneity in the association between social-emotional adjustment profiles and deviant behavior among male and female serious juvenile offenders. International Journal of Offender Therapy & Comparative Criminology, 48(2), 235-252.
  • Espelage, D., Swearer, S. (2004). Bullying in American schools: A social-ecological perspective on prevention and intervention. Erlbaum: Mahwah, NJ.
  • Holt, M., Espelage, D. (2003). A cluster analytic investigation of victimization profiles among high school students: Are profiles associated with differential psychological and educational outcomes? Journal of Applied School Psychology, 19, 81-98.
  • Espelage, D., Mazzeo, S., Quittner, A., Sherman, R., Thompson, R. (2003). Examining the construct validity of the Eating Disorder Inventory. Psychological Assessment, 15, 71-80.
  • Espelage, D., Holt, M., Henkel, R. (2003). Examination of peer group contextual effects on aggression during early adolescence. Child Development, 74, 205-220.
  • Espelage, D. (2003). Bullying among children and adolescents. Innovations in clinical practice: A source book. Professional Resources Press: Sarasota, FL.
  • Mazzeo, S., Espelage, D., Sherman, R., Thompson, R. (2003). A 10-year trend analysis of symptoms in an outpatient eating disorders clinic. Eating Disorders, 4, 211-220.
  • Espelage, D., Swearer, S. (2003). Research on bullying and victimization: What have we learned and where do we need to go? School Psychology Review, 32, 365-383.
  • Espelage, D., Cauffman, E., Broidy, L., Piquero, A., Mazerolle, P. (2003). A cluster-analytic investigation of MMPI profiles of serious male and female juvenile offenders. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 42, 770-777.
  • Swearer, S., Espelage, D. (2003). Bullying prevention and intervention: Integrating research and evaluation findings [Special issue]. School Psychology Review, 32, 365-470.
  • Broidy, L., Cauffman, E., Espelage, D., Mazerolle, P., Piquero, A. (2003). Empathy and offending: The relation between consideration of others and sex differences in offending. Violence and Victims, 18, 503-516.
  • Mazzeo, S., Espelage, D. (2002). Association between childhood physical and emotional abuse and disordered eating behaviors in female undergraduates: An investigation of the mediating role of alexithymia and depression. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 49(1), 86-100.
  • Espelage, D., Asidao, C. (2001). Conversations with middle school students about bullying and victimization: Should we be concerned? Journal of Emotional Abuse, 2(2).
  • Espelage, D., Holt, M. (2001). Bullying and victimization during early adolescence: Peer influences and psychosocial correlates. Journal of Emotional Abuse, 2(3), 123-142.
  • Espelage, D., Bosworth, K., Simon, T. (2000). Examining the social environment of middle school students who bully. Journal of Counseling and Development, 78, 326-333.
  • Espelage, D., Quittner, A., Sherman, R., Thompson, R. (2000). Assessment of problematic situations and coping strategies in women with eating disorders: Reliability and validity of a role-play inventory. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 22, 271-297.
  • Bosworth, K., Espelage, D., Dahlberg, L., Daytner, G., DuBay, T., Karageorge, K. (2000). The effectiveness of a multimedia violence prevention program for early adolescents. American Journal of Health Behavior, 24, 268–280.
  • Espelage, D., Bosworth, K., Simon, T. (2000). Examining the social environment of middle school students who bully. Journal of Counseling and Development, 78, 326-333.
  • Bosworth, K., Espelage, D., Simon, T. (1999). Factors associated with bullying behavior in middle school students. Journal of Early Adolescence, 19, 341-362.

In The News

Factors that cause bullying—and how parents can protect children

Feb. 12, 2015

“Certain youth are more at risk,” says Dorothy L. Espelage, an Edward William Gutgsell & Jane Marr Gutgsell Endowed Professor and Hardie Scholar of Education Read more...

Popular anti-bullying program may deliver mixed results

Jan. 16, 2015

Dorothy Espelage leads study on social-emotional learning program

Ed Psych professor Dorothy Espelage leads research for social sensing game that detects classroom bullies

Nov. 4, 2014

Professor Dorothy Espelage of the Department of Educational Psychology has led the research for a social sensing game that detects classroom bullies and helps scholars better understand peer aggression, whether it occurs in person or online. Read more...