Predicting Adolescents’ Intentions to Support Victims of Bullying from Expected Reactions of Friends versus Peers
|Marx, H, Boulton, M and Macaulay, P.
Given the crucial role of bystanders in combating bullying in schools, there is a need to understand the reasons why children may or may not intervene on behalf of a victimised peer. The aim of the present study was to explore the association between children’s expectations of general peer reactions versus the reactions of their friends on three subtypes of victim support: consoling the victim, addressing the bully, and getting adult help. A sample of 630 students (297 girls; 333 boys, Mage = 12.5) from three public secondary schools in Germany completed a 30-item questionnaire measuring expected peer reactions, expected friend reactions, past victim support experiences, and intentions to support victims. Results revealed the more influential role of expected reactions of friends over general peers in predicting victim support with expected negative consequences from friends reducing children’s willingness to engage in victim helping, irrespective of the three sub-types of support studied. Expected negative outcomes from peers were also found to significantly affect students’ intentions to approach a teacher for help. Boys were found to be more concerned about their friends’ and peers’ reactions to victim support than girls. The findings are discussed in relation to bystanders’ willingness to offer victim support and associated practical implications for addressing the widespread problem of bullying in schools.
|Bystanders; friends; peers; bullying; victim support
|International Journal of Developmental Science
|17 (1-2), pp. 67-80
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
|Web address (URL)
|Accepted author manuscript
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File Access Level
|10 Oct 2023
|Publication process dates
|17 Nov 2023
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