Literature Review: Behavioural Responses of Student Bystanders in Situations of Bullying

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Bullying, a form of aggression, can be experienced in several forms: physical, verbal, social or cyber. All bullying is composed of three specific concepts—causing their victims harm, possessing greater power than their victims and repetition (Oh & Hazler, 2009). Most often it is just the bully and a victim taken into consideration yet this fails to identify a key influence: bystanders. It is their impact on bullying that creates serious problems thus understanding the bystander’s role is vital in trying to decrease the occurrence of bullying (Oh & Hazler, 2009).
One generally noted concept in all of the articles was the taxonomy used for bystanders. The authors utilized the four categorizations of bystanders, established by a previous
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Although all of the research is interested in bystander behaviour, the approach of the researchers seem to differ in that they are either interested in predictors of behaviour or the motivation behind bystander behaviour. Predictors such as gender, grade, past experiences with bullying, type of bullying witnessed and friendship dynamics have displayed some significant trends (Oh & Hazler, 2009; Trach, Hymel, Waterhouse and Neale, 2010). For example, researchers identify strong and consistent trends that indicate girls are more likely to support victims with positive actions while boys were more likely to report doing nothing (Oh & Hazler, 2009; Trach, Hymel, Waterhouse and Neale, 2010). Furthermore, older students were far more passive in actions while younger students were more willing to take direct action (Trach, Hymel, Waterhouse and Neale, 2010). On the contrary, Thornberg (2007) focused on bystanders rationalization behind their actions. He found students defined seven common definitions for passive behaviour in situations of an emergency: trivialization, dissociation, embarrassment association, audience modeling, busy working priority, responsibility transfer and compliance with a competitive norm (Thornberg, 2007). However, the reasons for taking positive action he found were curious empathy, care questioning and sympathy company (Thornberg, 2007). Specifically, the most positive action was that of sympathy company because…