Category: Comorbidity - Substance Use and Other

Symposium

Preventing Dating and Sexual Violence Among Youth: Middle School Teachers as Proactive Bystanders

Friday, November 17
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Location: Aqua Salon E & F, Level 3, Aqua Level

Keywords: Violence / Sexual Assault | Child | School
Presentation Type: Symposium

Dating and sexual violence are significant concerns among youth (Young et al., 2009). This research aims to rigorously evaluate a social norms marketing campaign across 10 middle schools (Orchowski, 2015).  In the formative phase of this four year study, we sought to document the roles of educators as proactive bystanders in schools.


The sample of 363 educators completed assessments of the likelihood of other educators to engage in bystander intervention (BI; Edwards et al., 2015; 9 items, α = .79), the extent to which violence was a problem at their school (Edwards et al., 2015; 3 single items), barriers/facilitators of BI (Edwards et al., 2014; 9 items, α = .74), BI likelihood (Miller, 2012; 7 items, α = .96), witnessing violence among students (Rothman, 2006; 7 items, α = .90), and whether they intervened. Teachers also completed a single item indicating which BI strategies they utilized to address situations that could have led to violence at their school (Miller, 2012).


The sample was predominantly female (69.8%, N = 250), White (89.3%, N = 324), and worked at the school for 10.45 years (SD = 8.19).  Approximately 31% (N = 106) reported seeing something they believed was, or could have led to sexual harassment/assault at the school, and 16% indicated that a situation involved school staff. Educators used a range of BI strategies, including separating those involved (40.6%, N = 43), asking the person if they needed help (46.2%, N = 49), distraction (15.1%, N = 16), stepping in with a group (16.0%, N = 17), and telling an authority (63.2%, N = 67). Only 1.9% (N = 2) considered intervening but did not feel safe to do so.


Correlates of proactive BI included: viewing violence as a problem, believing that resources were needed, increased likelihood to intervene, and witnessing more violence (ps ps <.05). Implications will be discussed.

Lindsay M. Orchowski

Assistant Professor of Psychology
Alpert Medical School of Brown University

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