ECPS Student Feature – Lindsay Starosta

Lindsay Starosta
Ph.D. Candidate in the School and Applied Child Psychology program

Lindsay is currently collecting data on her study for high school bullying from a teacher’s perspective.


Bullying does not affect all youth equally; marginalized groups experience disproportionate rates of victimization compared to non-marginalized groups (e.g., Brinkman, 2015). Moreover, being targeted for bullying because of facets of one’s actual or perceived social identity (e.g., race, sexual orientation, etc.), referred to as identity-based victimization (Gower et al., 2018), is associated with negative outcomes above and beyond those associated with general victimization (Poteat et al., 2014). Within a school, teachers and staff are seen as authority figures, responsible for protecting all students including those who are victimized, and as vital in stopping bullying. Yet, high school students who have been bullied based on their identity are reluctant to report it to teachers (Berger, Poteat, & Dantas, 2019) out of fear of inaction or ineffective action. Currently, it is unclear whether these fears are warranted, as little is known about how secondary teachers understand and react to this type of bullying.

Lindsay’s dissertation research aims to fill this gap by looking at how secondary teachers identify, perceive and address identity-based bullying, and how their perceptions and intended responses in situations of identity-based bullying compare to those they have in situations of non-identity-based bullying or when witnessing typical adolescent behaviour. Our hope is that results from this study contribute to creating school environments that promote safety, acceptance, tolerance and appreciation of differences through identifying key areas of focus for teacher training and through the development of realistic strategies for identifying identity-based bullying and responding to it effectively.


Lindsay Starosta is a doctoral candidate in the School and Applied Child Psychology program at the University of British Columbia. Her clinical work focuses on using comprehensive assessments and therapy as tools for empowering vulnerable youth to see themselves as strong, capable, and resilient. Lindsay is passionate about collaborating with parents and teachers to create environments that are caring, supportive and promote acceptance and appreciation of differences. Under the supervision of Dr. Shelley Hymel, her research investigates individual and contextual factors that contribute to bullying and victimization, as well as, the prevention of mental health challenges and the promotion of well-being through social-emotional learning and school-based mental health.