School and Family Factors Predicting Adolescent Cognition Regarding Bystander Intervention in Response to Bullying and Victim Retaliation

Kelly Lynn Mulvey, Seçil Gönültaş, Eric Goff, Greysi Irdam, Ryan Carlson, Christine DiStefano, Matthew J Irvin
Journal of Youth and Adolescence 2018 October 16
Youth aggression occurs at high rates. Aggressive acts can be curbed through bystander intervention; yet, little is known about school and family factors that predict bystander intervention in response to both aggression and victim retaliation. This research examines school and family factors related to standing up to aggression and intervening before possible retaliation occurs. Participants included 6th and 9th graders (N = 896, 52.8% female), who evaluated how likely they would be to intervene if they observed aggression and if they heard the victim was planning to retaliate. Family and school factors are important predictors of bystander intervention, with higher family management, and more positive school climate associated with greater likelihood of intervention and higher feelings of social exclusion and teacher and peer discrimination associated with inactive responses to aggression and retaliation. Thus, a complex constellation of factors relate to the likelihood of intervening if someone is being victimized or considering retaliation in response to victimization. The results provide guidance and new directions for possible school- and family-based interventions to encourage bystander intervention in instances of aggression.


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