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Research Projects

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Peer relationships are vital for adolescents’ development; while youth who are able to establish positive relationships with their peers can benefit from a unique context that contributes to their well-being and growth, negative peer relationships can constitute a significant social stressor. A particularly harmful type of social stressor is bullying victimisation. Victimised youth are at an increased risk for various mental and physical health problems that

may persist well into adulthood, highlighting the need to better understand the processes underlying the link between exposure to bullying victimization and health outcomes. Current understanding of the pathways towards risk is still limited, in part due to a lack of research taking into account various macro- and micro-level processes  –from the social surrounding (e.g., friendship, peer group processes) to the biological mechanisms.


In order to address this gap in literature, the current project proposes a novel conceptual model that integrates affective, cognitive, physiological and molecular mechanisms to understand how bullying may pose risks for health in adolescence. The first objective of the study is to examine how bullying victimisation changes daily life functioning in real life in terms of psychological functioning (emotional processes, stress appraisal) and physiological responses (autonomic nervous system, HPA-axis). The second objective of the study is to examine the effects of bullying victimisation on gene expression profiles (i.e., upregulated pro-inflammatory gene activity and down-regulated anti-viral gene activity) and its consequences for adolescent mental and physical health. The third objective is a combination of the former two and looks into how micro-level changes in daily life functioning affect longer-term changes in gene expression, which in turn affect health outcomes.


This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant agreement No. 853517). 

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