Experiences of adolescent witnesses to peer victimization: The bystander effect

Sheri Bauman, Jina Yoon, Charlotte Iurino, Liam Hackett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Many anti-bullying programs now emphasize the role of bystanders – youth who witness peer victimization. Using a large sample of adolescents (aged 12–18) from the United Kingdom who completed an online survey, the present study examined the types of bystander interventions, their outcomes, and reasons for intervening and not intervening. No significant group differences by any demographic group were found in intervening or not. Results showed that those who had a negative affective reaction when they witnessed bullying were more likely to intervene. Two intervening behaviors (telling the bully to stop and telling an adult) were the strongest predictors of positive results. The most frequently selected reason for not intervening was not knowing what to do, and for intervening, having prosocial and altruistic motives was most common. These and other results are discussed for theoretical and practical implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of School Psychology
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • And adolescents
  • Bystanders
  • Empathy
  • Intervention
  • Peer victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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