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Bystanders' affect toward bully and victim as predictors of helping and non-helping behaviour

Bystanders' affect toward bully and victim as predictors of helping and non-helping behaviour

Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 2019:

The current study examined how children's relationship with the bully and victim impacted their reactions as bystanders. An ethnically diverse sample of 2,513 Canadian students in grades 4-7 responded to questions about their experiences of bullying, including the frequency with which they witnessed bullying at school. Approximately 89% of the sample reported witnessing bullying at school during the current school year. Subsequently, participants were asked to recall a specific bullying incident that they witnessed and describe: (1) their relationship with the bully and victim; (2) how they felt while witnessing; and (3) how they responded as a bystander. Compared to situations where they didn't know the victim, bystanders were more likely to intervene directly (e.g., try to stop the bully, comfort the victim) if they liked the victim, and less likely to tell an adult if they disliked the victim. Aggressive intervention was more common if the witness didn't like the bully, but also if they didn't like the victim compared to if they didn't know them. Regarding emotions, anger emerged as an especially powerful predictor of bystander defending, with youth being over five times more likely to try to stop the bullying or comfort the victim if they felt angry. Implications of these findings for the development of ecologically valid, anti-bullying interventions are discussed.

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Accession: 066131144

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 30690736

DOI: 10.1111/sjop.12516

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