Where are the helpful bystanders? Ecological Niche and Victims’ Perceptions of Bystander Intervention


This study explores an emergent area of bystander research by describing associations between bystander involvement and community or microsystemic support factors across different types of victimizations. A total of 1703 adults and adolescents were surveyed about bystander presence, bystander actions, and bystander safety across 9 forms of victimization. They were also surveyed about 3 community-level factors—collective efficacy, support for community youth, informal community support—and 2 microsystemic factors—social support and tangible family resources community and microsystemic support scores were not typically associated with bystander presence. Higher community and microsystemic support scores, particularly support for community youth, informal community support, and social support, were commonly associated with perceiving bystanders as helpful to the situation. Support scores, especially collective efficacy, were also associated with bystander safety for some victimization types. Our exploratory findings show a relationship between bystander helpfulness and characteristics of the victim's community and microsystem, especially for victimization types that are typically public, like peer aggression.


Psychology, Carsey School of Public Policy

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Journal of Community Psychology



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