Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Cashel, Mary


Bullying is a persistent and common problem in schools nationwide. The experience of bullying can affect the social, psychological, academic, and emotional development of children. Youth can be involved in bullying in various ways, including as a victim, perpetrator, witness, or bystander. Upstanders play a significant role in the prevention of bullying, and the presence of upstanders in the student body is related to positive school climate. Minimal research on upstander behavior currently exists in the literature. The purpose of this study was to evaluate specific predictors of witness roles utilizing demographic and other variables. The data from 3438 student surveys analyzed in the present study were collected from a prior study on school climate across 35 schools in Southern Illinois. Results indicated that gender, grade, and minority status were predictors of upstander behavior. However, no demographic variables predicted either bystander or reinforcer behaviors As expected, indirect upstander behaviors occurring after an incident were reported less frequently than behaviors occurring directly with the victim, or in the moment. Upstander behaviors occurring in the moment were significantly and positively correlated with other upstander behaviors, and negatively correlated with perpetrator behaviors, whereas reinforcer behaviors were significantly and positively correlated. The results of this study and implications for future interventions are discussed.




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