Predictors of sexual assault–specific prosocial bystander behavior and intentions: A prospective analysis.

This study sought to analyze the impact of men’s attitudes and behaviors regarding prosocial bystander behavior.

The purpose of the study was to examine how male college students’ own attitudes and behaviors and their perceptions of peer attitudes and behaviors affect intentions and engagement in prosocial bystander behavior.  273 male undergraduate students of a large Midwestern University participated in the study.  The study took place throughout an academic year with data collected at baseline and two follow-up time periods.  The male participants completed questionnaires regarding their experiences of sexual aggression since they were 14 years of age, relevant attitudes, and behaviors.  The researchers found that the male participants’ perceptions of peer attitudes and behaviors were more predictive of intentions in prosocial bystander behavior than their own attitudes and behaviors.   Thus, misperceptions of social norms and individual attitudes and behaviors are both important areas to target in bystander intervention programming.

Application/Evaluation: The study included both a four month and seven month follow-up evaluations. 

Limitations: The overwhelming majority (98%) of the study participants identified as being heterosexual. It is not known if the same study results would be replicated with males who report different sexual identities. 

Austin, M. J. M., Dardis, C. M., Wilson, M. S., Gidycz, C. A., & Berkowitz, A. D.
Start Page: 
End Page: 
Journal/Periodical Name: 
Violence Against Women
Publication Date: