Priming Prosocial Behavior to Augment Bystander Interventions in Bullying Situations
Della Cioppa, Victoria
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Bullying is a harmful phenomenon wherein victims have difficulty defending themselves. Bystanders have been identified as a potentially effective group for reducing bullying. The goal of this research is to determine whether prosocial primes (operationalized as empathy and civility) have an effect on increasing bystander interventions among youth. A total of 52 participants between the ages of 10-14 were randomly assigned to two experimental groups or one control group. Participants either received neutral control stories or they were primed twice with stories showing characters acting empathetically or civilly. Testing measures involve a short video and questionnaire assessing willingness to act as a bystander. Results reveal that prosocial training can augment willingness to engage in defending behaviors when compared to the control V = .19, F(2, 46) = 5.53, p < .01, ω2 = .19, correcting for the sphericity violation. This finding represents a relatively easy and non-invasive way to potentially change the bullying-related attitudes of adolescents, thereby potentially reducing bullying behaviors.