Professor Helen Cowie

Research Interests

Peer support against bullying

School bullying

Bullying in the workplace

Bullying among university students

Emotional health and well-being in children and young people

Teaching: Supervision of PhD students

Social media links:


Recent International Keynote Conference Presentations





17th January, 2012 

The role of peer support in challenging cyberbullying

 ChildLine, Birmingham

Coimbra, Portugal

25th January, 2012

Can the peer group help to
counteract cyberbullying?
How research can inform

Postgraduate seminar

University of Lancaster

1st July, 2011

Coping with the emotional impact of bullying and cyberbullying: how research can inform practice 

Keynote address at European Network of Social and Emotional Competence (ENSEC) Conference

Manchester, UK

19-22 July, 2010.

Can young people themselves help prevent cyberbullying? What research tells us. 

EARLI (JURE) Conference Connecting Diverse Perspectives on Learning and Instruction,

Frankfurt am Main

8th September, 2010

Diversity of practices in tackling cyberbullying.  

 Keynote presented at the Netizenship e-Forum Conference


14th September, 2010.

The role of counselling in restorative practice

Keynote presented at the ESRC Seminar Series Restorative Justice,

University of Nottingham,

 25-26 October, 2010.

The impact of cyberbullying on the emotional wellbeing of children and young people.  

 Hospital Medicine 3rd Annual Conference on Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Anxiety and Depression 2010: Diagnosis and Management


August, 2008

A whole-school approach to tackling school violence

Teachers’ Summer School Hiroshima University

Hiroshima, Japan

August, 2008. 

Understanding why some children engage in bullying

Hiroshima University Graduate School of Education

Hiroshima, Japan

August 2008. 

 Bullying in the workplace

Global COE Program Ars Vivendi, Ritsumeikan University

 Kyoto, Japan





30th January, 2009

The current situation of peer support in the UK

Osaka City Education Centre Conference

Osaka, Japan

13-15 March, 2009

Counselling-based interventions to address the issue of school bullying

Association of Chinese and Mongolian International Schools (ACAMIS) Conference

Beijing, China

19-22 July, 2010

Can young people themselves help prevent cyberbullying? What research tells us. 

EARLI (JURE) Conference Connecting Diverse Perspectives on Learning and Instruction

Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Contact Me


My office hours

By appointment


Selected Books

From Birth to Sixteen, Helen Cowie (2012) London: Routledge.
This book charts children’s development from infancy through to adolescence. The text is designed for those studying and practising child development in the context of nursing, play work, youth work, play therapy, early years education, teaching, social work and occupational therapy. The book integrates theoretical and real world perspectives. For further information and access to the companion website, see

New Perspectives on Bullying, Cowie, H. & Jennifer, D. (2008) Maidenhead: Open University Press
This book provides a valuable resource for anyone responsible for the emotional health and well-being of children and young people by providing a wealth of ideas for promoting positive relationships in the whole-school community. The authors integrate key research findings and good practice, illustrated with case study material to bring the ideas to life. The material in this book is linked directly to the new agenda for change in meeting the needs of the child, empowering children to be consulted and to take responsibility for the issues that affect them. Interventions explored in depth include restorative approaches, peer mediation, narrative methods and cyber support.

Managing Violence in Schools, Cowie, H. & Jennifer, D. (2007) London: Sage Publications
This book proposes a whole-school community approach to create a climate in which teachers and pupils can work together in greater harmony. At the heart of this approach is the view that, in order to solve the issue of school violence, the entire school community must work collaboratively to foster cooperative values, a sense of positive identity, a willingness to embrace restorative, inclusive methods and a shared understanding of core moral values. The essence of this approach lies in the dynamic quality of the relationships amongst teachers and pupils. The authors provide real-life examples of good practice, such as peer support, mediation, emotional literacy and restorative practice. There is also guidance on how to conduct a needs analysis unique to each school.

Understanding Children’s Development, Smith, P.K., Cowie, H. & Blades, M. (Fifth Edition) (2010, in press). Oxford: Blackwell.
This textbook adopts an accessible style to introduce students to the fundamental principles of child development from birth to adolescence. It has received international acclaim and has been translated into a number of languages, including Italian and Estonian. Each chapter introduces the theme, discusses controversial issues, provides boxes and case studies for further discussion and review of key research findings and their implications for a full understanding of the child’s world.

Emotional Health and Well-Being, Cowie, H., Boardman, C., Dawkins, J. & Jennifer, D. (2004) London: Sage Publications This successful book is designed for educational psychologists, teachers, school nurses, counsellors and all those with pastoral responsibilities for young people. The authors describe the risk factors and the protective factors that affect the emotional health and well-being of children and young people. They also present a range of strategies that have been shown to be effective in creating a supportive environment at school in order to prevent distress where possible and to facilitate resilience.

Peer Support in Action, Cowie, H. & Wallace, P. (2000) London: Sage Publications
This training manual addresses the role that peer supporters can play in alleviating the distress of fellow-students in school settings and describes in detail how schools can develop a peer support service. The training activities represent the authors’ long-standing experience as facilitators, with case study material and role play scenarios to illustrate the approach. The book has been influential in the UK and overseas in promoting peer support which is now a very widely-used intervention in schools.


Recent book chapters

Cowie, H. (2013) Restorative approaches in schools: a psychological perspective. In E. Sellman, H. Cremin & G. McCluskey (Eds.) Restorative Approaches to Conflict in Schools. London: Routledge, pp. 75-81.

Cowie, H. (2012) The immediate and long-term effects of bullying. I. Rivers & N. Duncan (Eds.) Bullying: Experiences and Discourses of Sexuality and Gender. London: Routledge.

Cowie, H. (2010) Peer support in Japan: a perspective from the outside. In K. Östermann (ed.) Indirect and Direct Aggression. Frankfurt am Main, Peter Lang, pp. 133-142.

Cowie, H. (2010) Core interventions to counteract school bullying.  In T. Aoki (Ed.) Moral Education in Schools. Tokyo: Ya Publications.

Cowie, H. (2010) Cyberbullying: the situation in the UK. In J. A. Mora-Merchán, J.A. & T. Jäger, T. (Eds.) Cyberbullying - A cross-national comparison. Landau: Verlag Empirische Pädagogik.

Cowie, H. & Smith, P. K. (2010) Peer support as a means of improving school safety and reducing bullying and violence.  In B. Doll, J. Charvat, J. Baker & G. Stoner (Eds.) Handbook of Prevention Research. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum

Cowie, H. (2010) Understanding why children and young people engage in bullying at school. In C. Barter & D. Berridge (eds.) Children Behaving Badly? Exploring Peer Violence Between Children and Young People.

Cowie, H. (2010) Peer support in Japan: a perspective from the outside. In K. Östermann (ed.) Indirect and Direct Aggression. Frankfurt am Main, Peter Lang, pp. 133-142.

Cowie, H. (2010) Core interventions to counteract school bullying. In T. Aoki (Ed.) Moral Education in Schools. Tokyo: Ya Publications.

Cowie, H. (2009) Peer support challenges school bullying. In C. Cefai & P. Cooper (eds.) Promoting Emotional Education. London: Jessica Kingsley. (chapter 6)

Jennifer, D. & Cowie, H. (2009) Engaging Children and Young People Actively in Research. In K. Bryan (ed.) Communication in Healthcare . London: Peter Lang European Academic Publishers

Cowie, H. (2007) Programa de actuación para la violencia escolar (VISTA): un marco global para la escuela. In M. de Esteban Villar (ed.) Nuevos Retos para Convivir en las Aulas: Construyendo La Escuela Cīvica. Madrid: Fundación Europea Sociedad y Educación.

Cowie, H. (2006) Young people themselves tackle the problem of school violence. In Österman, K., & Björkqvist, K. (Eds.). Contemporary research on aggression. Volume I: School violence. Proceedings of the XVI World Meeting of the International Society for Research on Aggression, Santorini, Greece, 2004. Åbo, Finland: Åbo Akademi University. Pp 108-114.

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