About the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Lab

About the Nebraska Bullying Prevention and Intervention Research Lab

Our Mission

The nonprofit Empowerment Initiative supports translational research designed to foster positive, accepting communities free from bullying and other negative behaviors. Studies conducted through the Empowerment Initiative focus on identifying and addressing the complex personal, social and cultural factors underlying such behaviors, thereby advancing practical solutions to promote healthy relationships within families, schools and communities. To support this mission, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Empowerment Initiative. Read more about the Empowerment Initiative Lab.

Current Research              Past Research

2020-2021 Lab Accomplishments

Click here to support the Empowerment Initiative's work with a gift of any amount.

Our Lab

While our lives as graduate students, faculty members, and researchers keep us very busy, we also like to explore fun things offered in Lincoln and beyond! The pictures included below represent a snapshot of the fun things our research lab have done together. We also do an annual food study for fun, so we can try out food and beverages in the local area. An example food study is the Better Burger Study. Our most recent food study was the “Superior Sushi Study,” – check out our poster below. To learn more about the current faculty and graduate students in Empowerment Initiative, click here.


Dr. Susan Swearer has been a member of the school psychology faculty at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln since 1997, where she started the Target Bullying Research lab in 1999. Her research on bullying behaviors among school-aged youth has examined correlates and consequences of bullying, with the goal of helping students, school personnel and parents stop the bullying dynamic. The Target Bullying lab has also shed light on the important mental health connections underlying bullying and victimization. As a licensed psychologist, Swearer has taught and supervised the Child and Adolescent Therapy Clinic, focusing on training school psychologists in evidence-based cognitive-behavioral treatment approaches. Her clinical work and research led to the development of the Target Bullying Intervention Program, an individualized cognitive-behavioral approach to working with youth who bully others.

In 2012, Swearer received grant support from the Andrew Gomez Dream Foundation to collaborate with the Paul Mitchell network of cosmetology schools on the development of a social-emotional curriculum targeting self-empowerment, anti-bullying, and healthy relationships. This project served as the catalyst for the founding of the Empowerment Initiative through UNL's Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools in 2013. The Empowerment Initiative will facilitate and support translational research that advances understanding of the individual, social and societal factors necessary to create healthy environments that support children, youth, families and schools.