Examining Bullying Intervention Motivations Through a Cost/Benefit Analysis
The purpose of the present study was to examine the role of the bystander in bullying situations. A cost/benefit model was explored in researching factors adolescents consider in deciding whether to intervene when witnessing bullying. Adolescents in the present study (N = 101 (50.5% female), between the ages of 12 to 18, M = 15.37 years; SD = 1.71 years) completed self-report questionnaires, and also responded to bullying scenarios, stating how the bystander would react, while explaining potential personal costs and benefits. Adolescents were able to articulate various personal costs and benefits when making the decision to intervene. Conclusions of the present study include: 1) the evolutionary approach is quite informative in illuminating the decision process of the bystander, 2) adolescents’ beliefs about bullying and the role of bystanders are different from their teachers’, and 3) the rather explicit cost/benefit model could be used to develop more targeted anti-bullying programs.