Bystanders matter: Associations between reinforcing, defending, and the frequency of bullying behavior in classrooms
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences
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.