What works in tackling bullying and cyberbullying: perceptions from young people, parents, and teachers

Project summary

The objective of the project will collectively explore how young people, parents, and teachers perceive bullying and cyberbullying, specifically what is effective in tackling the issue, and what they would like to see in a new anti-bullying initiative.  

Bullying is a sub-class of aggression that may take many different forms and involves intentional and repeated attempts to distress or harm a less powerful victim. Common types include physical bullying (e.g., pushing, hitting), verbal bullying (e.g., name-calling, verbal threats), and relational bullying (e.g., rumour circulation; manipulation, social exclusion).  

Like bullying, cyberbullying is another sub-type of aggression and despite sharing similar characteristics to bullying (i.e., intent to cause harm; repetition, power imbalance), it is also characterised by unique differences. Unlike bullying, cyberbullying is perpetrated online, and features of anonymity and publicity play a bigger role in the online domain (Macaulay et al., 2022

It is common among school students and continues to be a threat to their well-being, with teachers often struggling to address the issue within the school (Macaulay et al., 2018). Involvement in bullying has been linked with an array of negative outcomes, including reduced self-esteem, deterioration in attainment and academic grades, suicidal thoughts/attempts, and has an adverse outcome on a school’s climate and community (Carvalho et al., 2021).   

Prior research has shown large discrepancies in how young people, parents, and teachers perceive and respond to bullying and cyberbullying.  

This PhD will offer the first comprehensive insight into what works in tackling bullying and cyberbullying by considering the collective views of young people, parents, and teachers.  

This PhD will extend a programme of work imitated by Dr Peter Macaulay

Entry requirements

For our PhD programmes, we normally expect you to have a first-class or upper-second (2:1) honours degree accredited by the British Psychological Society or a related subject area.

International students may also need to meet our English language requirements. Find out more about our entry requirements for international students.

Project-specific requirements must align with the University’s standard requirements.

How to apply

Please contact Dr Peter Macaulay (p.macaulay@derby.ac.uk) in the first instance for more information on how to apply.

The University has four starting points each year for MPhil/PhD programmes (September, January, March and June). Applications should be made at least three months before you would want to start your programme. Please note that, if you require a visa, additional time will be required. 


Self-funded by student. There is a range of options that may be available to you to help you fund your PhD.


Lecturer in Psychology

Peter is a Lecturer in the School of Psychology within the College of Health, Psychology, and Social Care. Peter primarily teaches social and developmental psychology. Peter's research focuses on cyberbullying, face-to-face bullying, online safety, and bystander intervention.