Diana Meter is an Assistant Professor in the Family, Consumer, and Human Development department at Utah State University. Dr. Meter earned her BA degree in Psychology from The University of North Carolina at Asheville and her MS and PhD degrees in Family Studies and Human Development from The University of Arizona where she was funded by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Prior to joining the faculty at USU, she worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Texas at Dallas. Diana’s primary research interest is peer relations among children and adolescents. She teaches classes in research methods and human development. Diana serves as a representative of the Society for Research in Child Development’s Student and Early Career Council and the Society for Research on Adolescence’s Emerging Scholars Committee. Outside of work, Diana enjoys hiking, camping, gardening, cycling, cooking, and hanging out with her fiancé and cat, Sir Little John.
- PhD, The University of Arizona (Family Studies and Human Development), 2015
- MS, The University of Arizona (Family Studies and Human Development), 2013
- BA, The University of North Carolina at Asheville (Psychology), 2008
There are two specific research areas central to my work: First, I am interested in understanding peers who defend others from peer victimization including a) what strategies children and adolescents use to defend, or stand up for victims of peer victimization, b) individual, peer, and school predictors of defending, and c) the consequences of defending peers. Second, I study the association between parent-adolescent relationships and adolescent peer-relations. The common theme between these two areas is that individuals develop within spheres of influence (Bronfenbrenner, 1986) including school, friendships and peer groups, and the family.
Advanced statistical techniques can be used to best answer developmental research questions. I employ longitudinal and multigroup structural equation modeling, social network analysis, and meta-analysis in my work. I also have an interest in contributing to knowledge about best practices in peer relations research and publish methods papers on this topic.
Defenders of Peer Victimization: Peers who Stand Up for Others: My approach to studying peer victimization assumes a whole school perspective rather than focusing only on aggressors and victims. I am particularly interested in defenders, who may enact a variety of prosocial behaviors including comforting and supporting the victim, intervening, getting help, or encouraging the victim to get help. I am interested in how children or adolescents’ enactment of prosocial behavior on behalf of their victimized peers, such as through defending those who are victimized, may be beneficial to the victimized peers, the peer group in general, and also to the prosocial children and adolescents themselves. Findings from my research illustrate predictors of defending and the positive and negative consequences of defending. Future goals include examining how prosocial behaviors interact with factors including school climate, school social norms, and student beliefs to predict defenders’ social adjustment and peer victimization.
The Effect of Parent-Child Relationships on Peer Relations: Parents have the potential to teach their children skills to engage positively with peers, but some parents model their parents’ aggression when interacting with peers. My research has shown that parent’ behavior with their own peers can impact their parenting behavior. Another study showed that parent-adolescent communication in early adolescence is related to aggression through late adolescence.