Professor Peter Smith

Peter is a developmental psychologist, with interests in school bullying, children’s play, and grandparenting.

Staff details

Professor Peter Smith


Emeritus Professor




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Peter is at the Unit for School and Family Studies, which he headed from 1998-2011. He is as an Emeritus Professor, continuing with research, writing, and international collaborations. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, the Association of Psychological Sciences, and the Academy of Social Sciences. In 2015 he was awarded the William Thierry Preyer award for Excellence in Research on Human Development, by the European Society for Developmental Psychology, and in 2018 the Student Wellbeing and Prevention of Violence (SWAPv) Award, from Flinders University, Australia. In December 2018 he is receiving an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Vienna.

Grants and Awards

Peter has received external funding in recent years from the EU (DAPHNE, COST), British Council (PMI2), DCSF, EHRC, FamilyLives, DigitalMe, ESRC, and QNRF. He is currently co-PI of an Erasmus+ grant on participatory exploration of cyberbullying, young people and socio-economic disadvantage.

Public Engagement and Knowledge Exchange

Peter is an Honorary Member of the of European Antibullying Network, and of the Antibullying Alliance in the UK. He has given presentations on ways of tackling school bullying to a range of organisations, including recently the Flemish Ministry of Education, Born This Way Foundation (USA), ISPRA, EDUC, Ministry of Education in Singapore, and Prince of Songkhla University in Thailand. He is participating in the 2018 Battle of Ideas program in London, on the role of grandparents.

Publications and research outputs


Smith, Peter K.. 2016. Adolescence: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199665563

Smith, Peter K.; Cowie, Helen and Blades, Mark. 2015. Understanding Children's Development 6th edition. Chichester: Wiley. ISBN 978-1-118-77298-0

Peter K, Smith. 2014. Understanding School Bullying: Its Nature & Prevention Strategies. London, UK: Sage Publications. ISBN 978-1-84887-904-2

Edited Book

Smith, Peter K.; Sundaram, Suresh; Spears, Barbara; Blaya, Catherine; Schafer, Mechthild and Sandhu, Damanjit, eds. 2018. Bullying, cyberbullying and pupil well-being in schools: Comparing European, Australian and Indian Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge Univedrsity Press. ISBN 9781107189393

Peter K, Smith; Keumjoo, Kwak and Yuichi, Toda, eds. 2016. School Bullying in Different Cultures. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-107-03189-0

Smith, Peter K. and Steffgen, Georges, eds. 2013. Cyberbullying through the New Media Findings from an international network. Hove, East Sussex, UK: Psychology Press. ISBN 9781848722538

Book Section

Nery, Miguel; Neto, Carlos; Rosado, António and Smith, Peter K.. 2020. Welfare and the protection of young athletes: an analysis of the nature and prevalence of bullying behaviours in sport settings. In: Melanie Lang, ed. Routledge Handbook of Athlete Welfare. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 105-118. ISBN 9780367193256

Smith, Peter K.. 2011. Bullying in schools: thirty years of research. In: Iain Coyne and Claire P. Monks, eds. Bullying in Different Contexts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 36-59. ISBN 9780521132596

Gregory, Alice M.; Ball, Harriet A. and Button, Tanya M.. 2010. Behavioural Genetics. In: Peter K. Smith and Craig Hart, eds. The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Childhood Social Development, 2nd Edition. London and Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 27-43. ISBN 978-1-4051-9679-6


Agyekum-Hene, Rhysvana; Smith, Peter K.; Turunen, Tiina and Salmivalli, Christina. 2024. The Healthy Context Paradox at a National/Country-Level: Is Victimisation associated with Worse Adjustment in Countries where the Average Level of Victimisation is Lower? International Journal of Bullying Prevention, ISSN 2523-3653

Camp, J.; Durante, G.; Cooper, Andrew; Smith, Peter K. and Rimes, K. A.. 2024. Clinical outcomes for sexual and gender minority adolescents in a dialectical behaviour therapy programme. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, ISSN 1352-4658

Purdy, Noel; Scheithauer, Herbert; Harris, Jonathan; Willems, Roy A.; Mameli, Consuelo; Guarini, Annalisa; Brighi, Antonella; Menin, Damiano; Culbert, Catherine; Hamilton, Jayne; Völlink, Trijntje; Ballentine, Mark; Fiedler, Nora and Smith, Peter K.. 2024. The Development of a Multi-Dimensional Coding System to Categorise Negative Online Experiences Including Cyberbullying Behaviors Among Adolescents with Lower Socioeconomic Status. International Journal of Developmental Science, 17(4), pp. 141-155. ISSN 2192-001X

Research Interests

Peter’s main area of research is on school bullying. He is currently particularly interested in country differences and cross-cultural comparisons. He has also casrried out research on children’s play; and on the role of grandparents in children’s development.

• School bullying
• Cyberbullying
• Cross-national comparisons in bullying
• Nature and growth of the bullying research program
• Role of play in children’s development
• Children’s rough-and-tumble play
• The grandparent role