Do Snitches Get Stitches?
The importance of bystanders in disrupting the cycle of bullying is well-accepted. A number of bully intervention and prevention programs and public health campaigns have been developed to target bystander intervention in bullying situations. Collectively, these programs seek to empower bystanders to actively defend victims of bullying. However, the shifting of bystander roles from witness or outsider to active defender of bullying is more complex than originally anticipated, with bystander’s decisions to intervene in bullying influenced by an array of social, emotional, and cognitive processes. This presentation will review the empirical and theoretical literature surrounding bystander responses in bullying situations and discuss the development of a measure, the Bystander Social Cognitive Assessment Measure, which assesses the social and cognitive processes that promote or hinder bystander intervention in bullying situations. Implications for the use of this measure to evaluate bystander-focused bullying and intervention and prevention programs will also be discussed.
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