Data Analysis using SEM and APIM techniques

Simon Hunter gave a talk recently at the University of Edinburgh, UK, concerning the way that we have analysed data from the project.

His (quite technical, but nonetheless accessible) talk has been uploaded as a video lecture by the Applied Quantitative Methods Network, and may be viewed using the link below.


The abstract of his talk is pasted below:

This seminar will outline the background and methods used in an ESRC-funded research study focusing on adolescents’ humour use and their involvement in bullying. Following this, three specific aspects of data analyses will be introduced, each of which will be accompanied by examples using the humour and bullying data. These examples illustrate different ways of using the SPSS add-on ‘AMOS’ to analyse data. First, measurement models will be covered with a focus on trouble-shooting models which do have adequate levels of fit. Second, the cross-lagged nature of the data set will be discussed, along with benefits and limitations of this research design. Examples of analyses using cross-lagged data will be covered. Finally, the Actor-Partner Independence Model (APIM: Kashy & Kenny, 1999) will be introduced as a way to account for the dyadic nature of many data sets. Again, examples of APIM analyses will be presented and summarised. The seminar will end with a summary of findings from the humour and bullying project.

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Data Analysis

A quick update on our progress, post-data collection. We are now in the throes of data analysis, using a program called Amos to model the data, and the relationships between the constructs that we measured.

The model below shows that there are links between victimisation at the two phases of the study, and internalising problems (loneliness and depression).


There are lots more variables in the dataset for us to explore, so this is really just the beginning. We’ll have more results to report soon. …

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DECP Conference, 2013

Yesterday, Sian Jones presented a talk on our research methods at the BPS Division for Educational and Child Psychology Annual Conference, 2013. The abstract of her talk, and a link to the presentation are below.

“I’m Being Called Names and I’m Being Hit”

Methodological Challenges of Research on Bullying With Children

Claire L. Fox, Siân E. Jones, Hayley Gilman, Katie Wright-Bevans,  Lucy James, Toni Karic, & Victoria Caines

School of Psychology, Keele University, UK

 Purpose:  This paper aims to provide an overview of the methodological  issues that arise when working with children, rather than adults, to examine a sensitive subject.

 Background: Although much research is conducted with children, there is a paucity of papers which examine the ways in which the challenges of such research differ from research with adults, or which focus on specific issues that arise, or how these may be tackled.  This paper aims to address this deficit by discussing methodological issues which arose during an ESRC longitudinal research project on humour styles and bullying.

 Key Points:  Three key challenges will be discussed, namely, (a) access, relationships, and classroom management, (b) ethical issues, and (c) research design. Each challenge will be discussed in terms of the issues that were faced, and the strategies that were used to overcome them.

 Conclusions: It may be concluded that research with children has different challenges when compared to research with adults, and that greater discourse among researchers surrounding these issues would benefit future research practice.


The talk was well-received by a small but engaged audience, as we discussed some of the issues surrounding our research. A particular  issue was how we work with schools, to get children the help with bullying that they’ve asked for, in our confidential questionnaires. Some felt that we could be more directive in advising schools of the specific way to deal with  children who asked for help . We chose to leave this decision to the school staff – but the discussion shows that any decision taken along these lines has to strike a very difficult balance between researcher and ‘expert’.

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End of Project Dissemination Event

Would you be interested in attending a dissemination event on our research project to share your thoughts on the research?

If so, please email, Claire

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Congratulations, Hayley

Can children resist the subconscious advertising allure of Cheryl Cole?

As the project draws to a close in October, Hayley Gilman, one of our sessional Research Assistants, has started her PhD this week in the School of Psychology at Keele University.

Her title is “The effects of advertising on children’s implicit and explicit brand attitudes and judgments”. The work follows directly from Hayley’s research for her MSc degree, which you can read more about here. We wish her all the best with her studies.

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BPS Developmental Section, 2012 Conference Report

This year’s BPS Developmental Section Conference was held between 5th – 7th September at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. The programme promised a variety of talks, ranging from factors impacting on foetal development to predictors of adolescent criminality; and it certainly delivered on that promise.

With a view to the humour and bullying in schools research project, Claire and I attended a host of talks on peer victimization and peer influences on children’s behaviour. We particularly enjoyed a paper by Louise Dolphin (University College, Dublin) on peer understanding of depression, and another by Laura Houldcroft (Loughborough University) concerning peer influences on preadolescent eating behaviours.

Two further sessions were also of special interest to us. One was chaired by Patrick Leman (Royal Holloway, University of London) concerning children’s peer collaborations and their relationships with ethnicity (Yvonne Skipper) and school ethos (Robin Banerjee). The other was chaired by Dawn Watling (Royal Holloway, University of London) and covered children’s emotional development. We were also pleased that a number of people attended our symposium and shared thoughtful insights into the role of humour in children’s development.

Beyond the conference presentations, delegates were also treated to a wine reception in Glasgow City Chambers (pictured above), and a ceilidh with live music from Trailwest. In spite of the chilly weather, the local Conference team offered us a warm welcome in Glasgow; and we thank them for the fantastic work they put into making the Conference a success.

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BPS Developmental Psychology Section Conference 2012 Presentations

Please feel free to download a copy of our presentations from the BPS Developmental Section conference in Glasgow.

Development of a Humour Styles Questionnaire for Younger Children

Laughing Together, Joking Apart

Humour Styles as Moderators and Mediators of the Relationship Between Peer Victimisation and Internalizing.

Other titles in the symposium included:

Paper 1 Mireault, G., & Sparrow, J. What’s so funny? Social referencing in young infants’ discovery of humour

Paper 2 Reddy, V., Pratt, S., & Batchelder, S. Comic narratives in infancy.

Paper 3 Hoicka, E. Butcher, J., Malla, F., & Harris, P. L. Children base trust on speakers’ current intentions rather than past behaviours

Paper 4 Gattis, M., Hoicka, E., Abel, K., Sperotto, R., Sakkalou, E. Humour as a proving ground for children’s understanding of reference.

Gina Mireault’s research was covered during the conference by UK newspaper, The Telegraph, ‘Babies learn humour from parents‘.


We would love to know your thoughts on our research.

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Research Talk at Cardiff University

Last week, on 30th August, Sian Jones gave a presentation of research findings from Time 1 of the Humour and Bullying in Schools Research Project to the social and developmental research group at the School of Psychology, Cardiff University. The research was well-received, and the research group had lots of ideas for other research questions that may be asked of the dataset, at Time 1 and at Time 2. There’s lots of analysis still to go!

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Claire’s Research Visit

From 13th-14th August, 2012, Claire Wilson, a Research Assistant working on our  project with Simon Hunter at the University of Strathclyde, visited the lab at Keele University.

Claire saw the questionnaires that we used with the children,  and helped with some data entry, so that she could familiarise herself with the way that we encode our data, ready for returning to the University of Strathclyde to work on analysis with Simon.

Claire also helped with processing our peer nomination data, and saw how we extract the information about children’s friendships into SPSS.  We also had time to give Claire a tour of the campus, and Keele Hall.

Claire thoroughly enjoyed her time at Keele, and is now feeling ready to tackle the dataset on her return to Glasgow. We’ll be seeing her again soon at the BPS Developmental Section conference. 

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Researcher in Residence

During data collection at one school, Katie Wright-Bevans had the opportunity to speak to two Year 10 students about what it is like to conduct research. The students were looking to carry out their own piece of research as part of their course, wanting to explore the issue of cyber bullying in their school through the use of questionnaires. They were able to observe one of the data collection sessions at Time 2 and spoke to Katie following the session.

The students were keen to share their ideas as well as hear more about what it is like to conduct psychological research in the real world. Katie spent time discussing ethical issues surrounding research, focusing on issues such as consent, confidentiality and anonymity. As the students had just observed a data collection session Katie was able to demonstrate how ethical issues were handled by the researchers in the present study.

Katie also talked about research design and participant recruitment, the students were keen to know how they could get others interested in taking part in their study. Some time was also spent discussing the implications and applications of psychological research. Katie talked about why it is important to look at what your study hopes to achieve and how the research findings could be used showing how rewarding the experience can be.

Katie thoroughly enjoyed the chance to chat to the students and wishes them the best of luck with their study on cyber bullying.

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