Bystander motivation in bullying incidents: To intervene or not to intervene?
2012 (English)In: Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, ISSN 1936-900X, EISSN 1936-9018, Vol. 13, no 3, 247-252 p.Article in journal (Other academic) Published
This research sought to extend knowledge about bystanders in bullying situations with a focus on the motivations that lead them to different responses. The 2 primary goals of this study were to investigate the reasons for children's decisions to help or not to help a victim when witnessing bullying, and to generate a grounded theory (or conceptual framework) of bystander motivation in bullying situations.
Thirty students ranging in age from 9 to 15 years (M = 11.9; SD = 1.7) from an elementary and middle school in the southeastern United States participated in this study. Open- ended, semi-structured interviews were used, and sessions ranged from 30 to 45 minutes. We conducted qualitative methodology and analyses to gain an in-depth understanding of children's perspectives and concerns when witnessing bullying.
A key finding was a conceptual framework of bystander motivation to intervene in bullying situations suggesting that deciding whether to help or not help the victim in a bullying situation depends on how bystanders define and evaluate the situation, the social context, and their own agency. Qualitative analysis revealed 5 themes related to bystander motives and included: interpretation of harm in the bullying situation, emotional reactions, social evaluating, moral evaluating, and intervention self-efficacy.
Given the themes that emerged surrounding bystanders' motives to intervene or abstain from intervening, respondents reported 3 key elements that need to be confirmed in future research and that may have implications for future work on bullying prevention. These included: first, the potential importance of clear communication to children that adults expect bystanders to intervene when witnessing bullying; second, the potential of direct education about how bystanders can intervene to increase children's self-efficacy as defenders of those who are victims of bullying; and third, the assumption that it may be effective to encourage children's belief that bullying is morally wrong.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
eScholarship, 2012. Vol. 13, no 3, 247-252 p.
bullying, bystander, moral
mobbning, åskådare, vittne, moral
Pedagogy Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-81070DOI: 10.5811/westjem.2012.3.11792OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-81070DiVA: diva2:550129