Predicting High-School Students' Bystander Behavior in Simulated Dating Violence Situations

Ernest N. Jouriles, David Rosenfield, Kristen Yule, Kelli S. Sargent, Renee McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Purpose Dating violence among adolescents is associated with a variety of negative health consequences for victims. Bystander programs are being developed and implemented with the intention of preventing such violence, but determinants of high-school students' responsive bystander behavior remain unclear. The present study examines hypothesized determinants of high-school students' bystander behavior in simulated situations of dating violence. Methods Participants were 80 high-school students who completed self-reports of hypothesized determinants of bystander behavior (responsibility, efficacy, and perceived benefits for intervening) at a baseline assessment. A virtual-reality paradigm was used to observationally assess bystander behavior at 1-week and 6-month assessments after baseline. Results Efficacy for intervening was positively associated with observed bystander behavior at the 1-week and 6-month assessments. Moreover, efficacy predicted bystander behavior over and above feelings of responsibility and perceived benefits for intervening. Contrary to our predictions, neither responsibility nor perceived benefits for intervening were associated with observed bystander behavior. Conclusions This research advances our understanding of determinants of bystander behavior for high-school students and can inform prevention programming for adolescents. The study also introduces an innovative way to assess high-school students' bystander behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-351
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Bystander behavior
  • Dating violence
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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