University of New Hampshire
Mentor: Dr. Victoria Banyard, Department of Psychology
Investigating How The Perception Of Peer, Parental And Community Norms Influences Bystander Behaviors Of High School Students
Previous research suggests that social norms as well as the perception of one’s school climate has a significant influence on bystander intervention. However, there is very little research that addresses how the perception of social norms and school climate factors involving self-actualization, school opportunity and involvement, school authority, and student independence and autonomy may influence bystander intervention in high school students. The majority of research focuses on college students. In order to close this gap in literature, the study will investigate high school students specifically, exploring how perceived social norms of their community and the perception of their school environment may influence bystander behaviors. In person surveys were gathered in one New England high school (N=996) which collected measures of school climate, norms and actions to prevent violence. By analyzing the data collected from the surveys, a relationship between social norms, school climate factors and subsequent bystander intervention in high school youth will likely be more established and clearly defined. Through this study it is very possible that by analyzing the results of the survey, high levels of perceived injunctive norms as well as school climate will be related to greater self-reports of actual bystander action. In order to gain a better understanding as to why high school students may be more or less likely to intervene in instances of sexual violence, it is crucial to study the influence that social norms and school climate factors may have on the decisions of youth, which ultimately results in prosocial actions or lack thereof.