“Stand Up and Do Something”: Exploring Students’ Perspectives on Bystander Intervention

Sheila M. McMahon, Gretchen L. Hoge, Laura Johnson, Sarah McMahon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Bystander education is an increasingly popular primary prevention strategy for preventing sexual and relationship violence on college campuses. Although the evidence base for this primary prevention approach has grown substantially in recent years, more research is needed that accounts for changes in students’ readiness to help and helping behaviors over time. In addition, because there is still much to learn about the factors that contribute to these changes in behavior, it is important to hear from students in their own words about their experiences with bystander education. This article presents qualitative data from a group of students who participated in a bystander intervention education program over an 18-month period and explores what conclusions can be drawn about the impact of this program on student attitudes, self-perception, and behaviors related to preventing sexual violence on a college campus. Themes that emerged from the data include students’ increased knowledge about sexual violence, perceived changes in attitude about sexual assault on campus, students’ increased desire to help in situations that could escalate to sexual assault, actual helping, and students’ developing sense of themselves as persons of integrity and action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)NP3869-NP3888
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Apr 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


  • intervention
  • prevention
  • sexual assault


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