Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Psychology

Supervisor

Dr. Claire Crooks

Abstract

Over 80% of students have been a bystander to bullying at school. Bystanders who witness bullying may choose to “stand up” against the bully and support the victim personally, encourage intervention from peers or adults, join in with the bullying or “stand by” passively without involvement. These decisions may be influenced by a variety of personal, social and environmental factors. This study proposes that bullying bystanders differ across specific factors according to their decision to intervene or not intervene. Archived data from a culturally-representative sample of 482 middle-school students were used and analyzed from a person-oriented approach. Data represented the control group of a Fourth R Healthy Relationships Program randomized control trial in Saskatchewan. Participants completed an electronic survey that explored bullying experiences across roles (e.g. bully, victim, bystander), types of bullying experienced (e.g. verbal, social, physical, etc.), one’s attitude towards violence, level of moral disengagement, degree of self-efficacy, life satisfaction, perception of school climate and level of perceived social support. A chi-square found females were more likely to intervene than males and multiple t-tests identified characteristic differences between genders. Frequencies of the type of bullying experienced and intervention reasoning were analyzed to provide context for one’s intervention decision. Logistic regressions were conducted to predict bystander decision. Latent class analysis identified four non-intervening bystander types. These types were compared to each other and against interveners. This research lends support to future anti-bullying training programs by providing a deeper understanding of how bullying bystanders make their decision to intervene or not to intervene.


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