Date of Award

Fall 2015

Project Type


Program or Major

Justice Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Victoria L Banyard

Second Advisor

Katie Edwards

Third Advisor

Katherine Abbott


Sexual violence is a widely reported problem in college communities. Bystanders are witnesses to high-risk situations who are not involved as either the victim or perpetrator, and are present in about one third of sexual assault situations. Little research has explored what happens after a bystander intervenes, specifically the responses of the victim and perpetrator. The current study investigated what bystanders report as actual consequences of their bystander actions in response to risk for sexual assault. Participants were recruited through introductory psychology courses and were given a series of surveys inquiring about their own bystander behavior, bystander efficacy, and barriers to intervention. A range of attitude responses and intervention methods were identified. The most frequent responses reported by participants were victim positive and perpetrator negative. Direct intervention was associated with higher rates of victim positive and perpetrator positive responses, while distract intervention and distance intervention were associated with at least one negative response. Delegate intervention and diffuse intervention were not associated with any victim or perpetrator responses. In addition, negative responses were not correlated with lower scores for bystander efficacy and increased audience inhibition barriers. Future research should incorporate additional consequences of bystander intervention to determine all possible outcomes. Implications for policy are discussed.

Available for download on Sunday, September 01, 2115