The Role of Bystanders in School Bullying: Factors Influencing Students' Intentions to Intervene When Bystanders to Hypothetical Bullying Scenarios

Innes, Natasha (2010). The Role of Bystanders in School Bullying: Factors Influencing Students' Intentions to Intervene When Bystanders to Hypothetical Bullying Scenarios B.A. Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Innes, Natasha
Thesis Title The Role of Bystanders in School Bullying: Factors Influencing Students' Intentions to Intervene When Bystanders to Hypothetical Bullying Scenarios
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010
Thesis type B.A. Thesis
Supervisor Sheffield, Jeanie K.
Total pages 120
Abstract/Summary Bullying within schools remains a serious and widespread problem. In addressing this, the social context has become paramount since research has shown that most bullying incidents occur in the presence of bystanders, yet few intervene and most passively stand by. Consequently, the aim of the present study was to examine factors that influence students' intentions to act when observers of school bullying. A conceptual model of demographics, bullying history, social functioning and support, and emotional problems was developed to explain students' intentions as bystanders. Two bullying scenarios (a teased and excluded female victim, and a physically hurt and threatened male victim) were used to assess students' intentions. Eleven features (age, gender, previous victimisation, previous perpetration, social support, pro-social behaviour, self-esteem, constructive and dysfunctional problem solving, social anxiety and depression) were examined using a series of hierarchical multiple regression in predicting students' intentions to (a) ignore the incident, (b) talk to an adult, and (c) stop the bullying. Participants comprised 236 (138 females, 98 males), 10- to 13-year-old late primary and early secondary school students from schools in Brisbane. The results of the study support for the model, which best explained intentions to ignore bullying. Pro-social behaviour and social problem solving emerged as the strongest predictors of students' intentions as bystanders. Pro-social behaviour was negatively related to ignoring the bullying while positively associated with stopping the bully and talking to an adult in response to the verbal bullying scenario. Dysfunctional problem solving predicted ignoring bullying and constructive problem solving explained intentions to directly intervene in the physical bullying scenario. However, different characteristics also distinguished between intentions to directly intervene and talk to an adult. Implications for targeting the identified factors in intervention approaches for students are discussed.

 
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Created: Thu, 07 Apr 2011, 09:30:26 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Psychology