Bystander intervention among college men: The role of alcohol and correlates of sexual aggression.

The aim of this study was to investigate associations between heavy drinking and pro-social behavior in college men.

Summary: 242 undergraduate male students (mean age of 20) enrolled at a Northeastern University completed an online questionnaire for the current study.  The study participants answered questions that sought to measure: their demographics, alcohol use, bystander intervention attitudes, perceptions of peer approval of sexual aggression, and comfort with sexism, rape supportive attitudes, and engagement in coercive sexual behavior.  The correlation analyses conducted for the research study found that heavy alcohol use was associated with lower prosocial attitudes towards bystander intervention.  The researchers suggest that engaging men who are members of social groups that regularly partake in heavy drinking (drinking 5 or more drinks in one sitting) in sexual assault prevention programming is a promising strategy because it would provide the tools necessary for members of a high risk group (male college students who engage in heavy or binge alcohol drinking) to effectively engage in bystander intervention.

Application/Evaluation: This study might be useful for violence professionals who are engaging college student populations in sexual assault prevention efforts.  This study did not evaluate a health program or strategy.

Limitations: The majority of the study participants were Caucasian and while that is ethnically representative of the Northeastern University, it is not of the United States.

Orchowski, L. M., Berkowitz, A., Boggis, J., & Oesterle, D
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Journal of Interpersonal Violence
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