Shelley Hymel

Professor Emeritus

Human Development, Learning, and Culture

Edith Lando Professorship in Social and Emotional Learning (2018-2022)


University of Illinois, Human Development, Department of Educational Psychology, 1982


Dr. Shelley Hymel completed her doctorate in Human Development within the Faculty of Education at the University of Illinois in 1982. She then served on faculty in Developmental Psychology at the University of Waterloo until 1993 when she joined the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia. She currently holds the Edith Lando Professorship in Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) through which she has co-established a unique SEL Masters program concentration as well as a teacher education training specialization in social-emotional learning.  Since 2005, with the support of the Lando, Attias and Mitchell Foundations, Dr. Hymel has assembled an extensive collection of materials and resources on social and emotional learning, housed within the Faculty of Education’s Psychological Services and Counselling Training Centre (PSCTC). In 2015, Dr. Hymel and her team of graduate students launched the SEL Resource Finder (, a one-stop, online clearing house for educators that provides links to information, programs, resources, and assessment options for promoting social-emotional learning and mental wellbeing in children and youth. Within UBC’s Faculty of Education, Dr. Hymel has also served in a number of administrative roles, including Associate Dean (OGPR, 2000-2002), ECPS Department Head (2006-2008, 2017-2021) and Deputy Head (2016-2017), and Co-Director of the Psychoeducational Research and Training Centre (1996-2000, 2003-2005).

Dr. Hymel is one of the co-founders and co-directors of the Bullying Research Network (, an online network established in 2004 that connects over 300 researchers, educators and authors from around the globe who are interested in addressing issues of bullying and victimization.  Within the broader professional community, Dr. Hymel has served as a member of the executive team of PREVNet (, Canada’s national organization for “Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence” and on the Board of Directors for the BC Crisis Centre in Vancouver ( She has also served on multiple research advisory boards, including UBCs Human Early Learning Partnership, Alberta’s Life Synergy for Youth program, Seattle’s Committee for Children, Vancouver’s Dalai Lama Centre, and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation.

Dr. Hymel publishes extensively on social development and peer relations, with over 100 refereed journal articles and chapters to date. Most of her research is conducted in collaboration with graduate students from her Social and Emotional Education and Development (SEED) research lab. Within the disciplines of developmental and educational psychology, her research has explored the roots of interpersonal relations, including studies of the impact of peer rejection, childhood loneliness, the development of fairness, peer friendships and social status, cooperation and competition, discrimination and bias and, more recently, school bullying and victimization, with particular interest in group processes, including cultural differences and school climate factors that contribute to interpersonal interactions and school violence. She has co-edited a book on loneliness in childhood and adolescence, as well as special issues for both Merrill-Palmer Quarterly (1999, 2015) and the American Psychologist (2015). Acknowledging her research contributions, Dr. Hymel was recognized as one of UBC’s Killam Research Scholars (2015) and received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Illinois (2015).

With a commitment to knowledge translation, Dr. Hymel has given over 200 invited school/community presentations, and 14 keynote presentations for educators across Canada.  She has worked directly with children experiencing social difficulties through summer camps and a specialized educational program, and has collaborated with multiple school districts in supporting their efforts to address the social side of education, for which she received the Vancouver School Board Recognition Award in 2003.  Since its inception in 2006, Dr. Hymel has been an active member of SEL-BC, a collaboration of university faculty and educators from multiple school districts in the lower mainland of British Columbia who meet monthly through the school year to share research and knowledge mobilization efforts with regard to social and emotional learning in schools.

Scholarly Interests:

BullyingSEL Teacher EducationSocial and Emotional Learning in Children and Youth

Selected Publications:

Hymel, S. (2021). Five decades of research on school bullying: What have we learned? In P. Graf & D. Dozois (Eds.) Handbook on the State of the Art in Applied Psychology (pp. 269-292). West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Low, A. S., & Hymel, S. (2020). The Interface of Emotion and Social Competence. In S. Hupp & J. Jewell (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Child and Adolescent Development. Wiley Online Library.

Thornberg, R., Wänström, L., & Hymel, S. (2019) Individual and Classroom Social-Cognitive Processes in Bullying: A Short-Term Longitudinal Multilevel Study. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01752

Hymel, S. & Espelage, D. L. (2018).  Preventing aggression and youth violence in schools. In Malti, T., & Rubin, K. (Eds.) Handbook of Child and Adolescent Aggression (pp. 360-380). New York: Guilford.

Hymel, S., & Darwich, L. (2018). Building Peace through Education. Journal of Peace Education. DOI: 10.1080/17400201.2018.1535475.

Trach, J., Lee, M., & Hymel, S. (2018). A Social-ecological approach to addressing emotional and behavioral problems in schools: Focusing on group processes and social dynamics.  Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 26 (1), 11-20.

Hymel, S., Low, A., Starosta, L., Gill, R. & Schonert-Reichl, K. (2017).  Promoting mental well-being through social-emotional learning in schools: Examples from British Columbia, “Spotlight” Paper in the special issue, “Making Change Happen” of the Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, 36 (4), pp. 1-11.

Konishi, C., Miyazaki, Y., Hymel, S., & Waterhouse, T. (2017).  Investigating associations between school climate and bullying in secondary schools: Multilevel contextual effects modeling. School Psychology International, 38 (3), 240-263.

Hymel, S., Darwich, L., & Groendal, R. (2015). “The child is the father to the man”: Laying the foundation for nonkilling in childhood. In R. Bachtijaragić & J. Pim (Eds.) Nonkilling Balkans (117-138). Honolulu and Sarajevo: Center for Global Nonkilling and University of Sarajevo.

Hymel, S., & Swearer, S.M. (2015). Four decades of research on school bullying: An introduction. American Psychologist, 70 (4), 300-310.

Swearer, S.M., & Hymel, S. (2015). Understanding the bullying dynamic: Moving toward a social-ecological diathesis-stress model. American Psychologist, 70 (4),344-353.

Hymel, S., McClure, R., Miller, M., Shumka, E., & Trach, J. (2015). Addressing School Bullying: Insights from Theories of Group Processes. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 37, 16-24.

Hymel, S. & Bonanno, R. (2014). Moral disengagement processes in bullying. Theory into Practice. 53, 278-285.

Gini, G., Pozzoli, T., & Hymel, S. (2014). Moral disengagement among children and youth: A meta-analytic review of links to aggressive behavior. Aggressive Behavior, 40 (1), 56-68.

Vaillancourt, T., Hymel, S., & McDougall, P. (2013). The biological underpinnings of peer victimization: Understanding why and how the effects of bullying can last a lifetime. Theory into Practice, 52 (4), 241-248.

Darwich, L., Hymel, S. & Waterhouse, T. (2012). School Avoidance and Substance Use among Lesbian/Gay, Bisexual, and Questioning Youth: The Impact of Victimization and Adult Support. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104 (2),381-392.

Hymel, S., Closson, L.M., Caravita, S.C.S. & Vaillancourt, T. (2011). Social Status among Peers: From Sociometric Attraction to Peer Acceptance to Perceived Popularity. In P.K. Smith and C.H. Hart (Eds.), Handbook of Childhood Social Development (pp. 375-392), 2nd Edition. Wiley/Blackwell.

Bonanno, R. & Hymel , S. (2010). Beyond Hurt Feelings:  Investigating Why Some Victims of Bullying Are at Greater Risk for Suicidal Ideation. Merrill Palmer Quarterly, 56 (3), 420-440.

Hymel, S., Schonert-Reichl, K.A., Bonanno, R. A., Vaillancourt, T., & Rocke Henderson, N. (2010). Bullying and Morality: Understanding How Good Kids Can Behave Badly. In Jimerson, S., Swearer, S.M. & Espelage, D.L. (Eds). The Handbook of Bullying in Schools: An International Perspective (p. 101-118). New York: Routledge.

Cavell, T.A. Hymel, S., Malcolm, K. T. & Seay, A. (2007).  Socialization and Interventions for Antisocial Youth. In J. Grusec & P. Hastings (Eds.), Handbook of Socialization (p. 42-67). New York: Guilford Press.

Hymel, S., Schonert-Reichl, K.A., & Miller, L.D. (2006). Reading, ‘Riting, ‘Rithmetic and Relationships: Considering the Social Side of Education. Exceptionality Education Canada, 16 (3), 149-192.

Vaillancourt, T., Hymel, S., & McDougall, P. (2003). Bullying is power: Implications for school-based intervention strategies. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 19, 157-175.

Hymel, S., Vaillancourt, T., McDougall, P., & Renshaw, P. D. (2002). Acceptance and rejection by the peer group. In Smith, P. & Hart, C. (Eds.), Blackwell Handbook of Childhood Social Development (pp. 265-284). London: Blackwell Publishers.

McDougall, P., Hymel, S., Vaillancourt, T., & Mercer, L. (2001). The consequences of early childhood rejection.  In M. Leary (Ed.) Interpersonal Rejection (pp. 213-247). New York: Oxford University Press.

Rotenberg, K. & Hymel, S. (Eds.) (1999). Loneliness in Childhood and Adolescence.  NY: Cambridge University Press.

Courses Taught:

EPSE 307/308 Human Development, Learning and Diversity

EPSE 501 Seminar in Human Development, Learning, and Culture

EPSE 505 Foundations in Human Development

EPSE 585 Social and Emotional Development in Education

EPSE 561 Graduate Practicum in Social-Emotional Learning

EPSE 584 Motivation in Education

EPSE 604 Advanced Topics in Human Development, Learning, and Culture