Beyond the Situational Model: Bystander Action Consequences to Intervening in Situations Involving Sexual Violence

Elizabeth A. Moschella, Sidney Bennett, Victoria L. Banyard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Sexual violence is a widely reported problem in college communities. To date, research has largely focused on bystander intervention as one way to help prevent this problem. Although perceived consequences of bystander intervention, such as the weighting of costs and benefits, have been examined, little research has explored what happens after a bystander intervenes. The current study investigated what bystanders report as perceived outcomes and actual consequences of their bystander actions in response to risk for sexual assault. Of the 545 surveyed, 150 reported having taking bystander action in the past month and qualitatively described their bystander behavior and the responses of those parties involved. A range of behavioral responses and intervention methods were identified. The most frequent responses reported by participants were victims conveying positive and perpetrators conveying negative responses. Different types of helping were associated with bystanders reporting different types of responses to their actions. Future research should incorporate additional measures of consequences of bystander intervention. Implications for policy and bystander intervention programs are discussed, stressing the need for bystander intervention programs to address a range of bystander behaviors and explain the potential consequences and risks of intervening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3211-3231
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


  • bystander
  • intervention method
  • response to intervention
  • sexual assault


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