Online Program

Campus sexual assault prevention through bystander training: A meta-analytic review

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Caroline Orr, M.A., M.S., Department of Social and Behavioral Health, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Jeanine Guidry, M.S., M.P.S., Department of Health Behavior and Policy, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Background: Bystander training is a promising new approach to sexual assault prevention on college campuses. As colleges and universities are faced with the challenge of addressing sexual assault, establishing the effectiveness of such programs will be crucial. This meta-analysis evaluates the effectiveness of bystander training programs on key bystander outcomes including attitudes, efficacy, intentions, and behaviors.

Method: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature on bystander training were conducted. Studies evaluating bystander training programs on college campuses were identified by searching MEDLINE, Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), and PsycINFO databases, and through secondary referencing. Individual effect sizes were standardized, and meta-analyses were performed on each outcome to calculate pooled effect sizes using random effects. Moderator analyses and meta-regression were conducted to explore any potential source of heterogeneity between studies.

Results: A total of 38 studies were identified, of which 11 met pre-defined criteria for inclusion. Results of the meta-analysis (N = 2, 817) revealed statistically significant effect sizes for three of the four outcomes (efficacy, intentions, and behavior). All three significant outcomes were in a positive direction, indicating that participation in bystander training increased self-reported levels of bystander efficacy, intentions, and behavior. Moderator analyses and meta-regression revealed that the effects of bystander training varied based on characteristics of the program (e.g., length of training) and of the participants (e.g., gender).

Discussion: This study provides preliminary support for the use of bystander training to address sexual assault on college campuses. Implications for program design and evaluation are discussed.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the effectiveness of campus bystander training programs on key bystander outcomes. Identify factors that influence the effectiveness of bystander training programs. Discuss implications for the use of the bystander approach to prevent sexual assault on college campuses.

Keyword(s): College Students, Sexual Assault

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral student in Social and Behavioral Health at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. I have taken extensive coursework in methodology, health behavior theory, and program design and evaluation. I have published prior peer-reviewed research and have presented at conferences on issues pertaining to college health, violence against women, and behavioral sciences. I have also worked in college health education.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.