Bystanders matter: associations between reinforcing, defending, and the frequency of bullying behavior in classrooms.J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2011; 40(5):668-76.JC
This study investigated whether the bystanders' behaviors (reinforcing the bully vs. defending the victim) in bullying situations are related to the frequency of bullying in a classroom. The sample consisted of 6,764 primary school children from Grades 3 to 5 (9-11 years of age), who were nested within 385 classrooms in 77 schools. The students filled out Internet-based questionnaires in their schools' computer labs. The results from multilevel models showed that defending the victim was negatively associated with the frequency of bullying in a classroom, whereas the effect of reinforcing the bully was positive and strong. The results suggest that bystander responses influence the frequency of bullying, which makes them suitable targets for antibullying interventions.