Call for Research on Bystander Intervention to Prevent Sexual Violence: The Role of Campus Environments

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An important next step for the field is to determine what setting-level factors beyond the individual are critical to fostering campus environments that support pro-social, helpful bystander intervention action to prevent sexual violence. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to provide a research agenda to investigate key areas of the campus environment and their potential influence on bystander intervention. To create the research agenda, a number of steps were followed including: (1) systematically reviewing the larger bystander literature to identify key environmental areas, (2) assessing what research is available specific to college campuses and sexual assault in each of these areas, and (3) outlining future research to address each of these areas on college campuses and determine their applicability to sexual violence situations. Five main groups of factors were found to influence bystander intervention beyond the individual, group and situational levels, including: social norms, sense of community, pro-social modeling, policies, and the physical environment. Certain areas of research on environmental influences on bystander intervention are more developed such as social norms, with little research on areas such as policies and the physical environment. However, further research is needed in each of the identified five areas to help identify how college campuses can support bystander intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)472-489
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Journal of Community Psychology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • Bystander intervention
  • Campus sexual assault
  • Pro-social environments

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