Bystander training programs have recently proliferated on college campuses as a means to reduce sexual assault. While bystander training programs show promise in reducing sexual assault and have the potential to engage men as allies in this task (Coker et al., 2014), evaluations of these programs have relied largely on self report methods to measure primary outcomes (i.e., bystander efforts to intervene). Additional research is needed to understand situational factors that influence the likelihood of a bystander taking action. The present project addresses these needs by investigating the unique and interactive effects of an online bystander training program and alcohol intoxication on men's actual bystander behaviors observed in a laboratory setting. Based on prior theoretical and empirical evidence it is expected that participation in an online bystander training program will result in increased bystander behaviors to reduce sexual aggression during a laboratory analogue. Further, theories of alcohol's myopic effects on cognitive and attentional processes suggest that drinking may play a critical role in bystander behaviors (Steele & Josephs, 1990). It is expected that bystander alcohol intoxication will result in fewer and poorer quality bystander behaviors and that alcohol intoxication will moderate associations between the online bystander intervention and bystander behaviors such that the effects of the intervention will be weakened by alcohol intoxication. Knowledge gained from this study will enhance the development of programs aimed at engaging men as active bystanders to reduce sexual assault by shedding light on the interactive effects of participation in a bystander training program and acute alcohol intoxication on actual bystander behaviors.

Public Health Relevance

Bystander training programs have recently proliferated as a mechanism to reduce the rate of sexual assault on college campuses (e.g., Coker et al., 2014); yet, additional research is needed to understand situational factors that contribute to increased bystander behaviors. The current study will examine the impact of two factors-an online bystander training to prevent sexual violence and the role of bystander acute alcohol intoxication-on observable bystander behaviors to prevent sexual aggression.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Initial Review Group (AA)
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Freeman, Robert
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University of Nebraska Lincoln
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Haikalis, Michelle; Leone, Ruschelle M; Parrott, Dominic J et al. (2018) Sexual Assault Survivor Reports of Missed Bystander Opportunities: The Role of Alcohol, Sexual Objectification, and Relational Factors. Violence Against Women 24:1232-1254
Leone, Ruschelle M; Haikalis, Michelle; Parrott, Dominic J et al. (2018) Bystander Intervention to Prevent Sexual Violence: The Overlooked Role of Bystander Alcohol Intoxication. Psychol Violence 8:639-647