17 February 2020
The current study examined bystanders of gender-based harassment (GBH) in early adolescence. Specifically, it examined whether early adolescents’ sense of school belonging, perceived peer support, and self-perceived gender typicality predicted how they respond to witnessing GBH (e.g., whether they confront the perpetrator, seek social support, or ignore it), and whether they feel good or worried about confronting perpetrators of GBH. U.S. 7th and 8th graders (n = 594; 300 male early adolescents and 294 female early adolescents; Mage = 12.74, SD = .70) completed measures of same- and other-gender typicality, school belonging, peer support, and experiences witnessing GBH. Students reported how often they had witnessed GBH, how they thought they would feel about confronting the perpetrator of GBH, and how they responded (or thought they would respond) to witnessing GBH. The more strongly early adolescents felt a sense of belonging to their school, (a) the more worried and good they felt about confronting GBH and (b) the more likely they were to both confront perpetrators of GBH and to seek social support after witnessing GBH. Early adolescents who were lower in gender typicality felt less positively about confronting GBH, but they were more likely to report confronting perpetrators of GBH. These results indicate that bystander interventions targeting GBH should focus on increasing students’ sense of school belonging and considering individuals simultaneously as both targets and bystanders.
Tam, M. J. & Brown, C. S. (2020). Early Adolescents’ Responses to Witnessing Gender-Based Harassment Differ by their Perceived School Belonging and Gender Typicality. Sex Roles. DOI: 10.1007/s11199-020-01126-0
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