January 24, 2024

Warriors in the Community, Episode 39: Researching bullying

Warriors in the Community is a radio segment that features short, insightful interviews with key figures from Wayne State University about the many ways in which the university and its programs make a positive impact on the metro area and on the lives of Detroiters. 

Our latest episode features Hannah Schacter, assistant professor of psychology in Wayne State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and adjunct assistant professor in the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Child and Family Development, who discusses her groundbreaking work on the phenomenon of bullying. Last fall, Schacter was selected as the 2023 Early Career Award recipient by the Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention at the University at Buffalo. The annual award recognizes exemplary scholarly contributions to the field of bullying abuse and prevention and research that has the potential to influence practice and policy.

Announcer:  This is Warriors in the Community, brought to you by Wayne State University. And now, to learn about how Wayne State is positively impacting our communities, here's Darrell Dawsey.

Darrell Dawsey: Today I'm joined by Hannah Schachter, Ph. D. She's an assistant professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and she's here to discuss her insightful research into a social phenomenon that concerns us all, bullying.

Welcome, Hannah.

Hannah Schacter: Thank you for having me. 

Hannah Schacter, Ph.D.

Darrell Dawsey: Absolutely. So tell us why so much of your work focuses on bullying. What's that about?

Hannah Schacter: So we know that bullying has really negative short and long term effects on children and teenagers. Um, and so what concerns us is that adolescents who are bullied tend to show worse mental health outcomes.

They show worse physical health, they even do worse in school and in adulthood can be at risk for poor physical health outcomes and just general adjustment difficulties. So we want to understand how we can interrupt those.  

Darrell Dawsey: Many of us think we understand bullying because it seems so common. Um, but what are a few of the more surprising findings from your research?

Hannah Schacter: One of the surprising things we've found is that we usually think of schools with lower levels or rates of bullying being the safest for all kids. And while this is, in some ways, true, we actually find that kids who are bullied in schools where bullying is very uncommon tend to show the worst outcomes.

Darrell Dawsey: Now, Hannah, can you share with us an anecdote that would underscore for our listeners the importance of your work or the impact that that work's having?

Hannah Schacter: One time I spoke with a young, uh, middle school student who was being really relentlessly bullied at school, pushed around, called horrible names for years on end, and yet he seemed to be really well adjusted and doing well, and I asked him, why is it? How are you? Uh, you know, seem to be so happy and, um, you know, doing pretty well, all things considered. And he said, I'm just really lucky I have such a great family. And so a lot of the work I do tries to identify these social factors, whether it's family, friends, school features. That might help kids, uh, cope in the face of these negative social experiences.

Darrell Dawsey: Alright, well Dr. Hannah Schachter, thank you so much for joining us.

Hannah Schacter: Thanks for having me.

Announcer: This has been Warriors in the Community. For more Wayne State news, please visit us online at today.wayne.edu/WWJ and join us here next Monday at the same time for more Warriors in the Community.

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