Bystander intervention: School engagement versus shame management

Author/s (editor/s):

Ahmed, Eliza

Publication year:


Publication type:

Journal article

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Bystanders are an invaluable source of information about school bullying. Anti-bullying efforts are hampered if bystanders remain reluctant to discourage bullying. But given that bystanders who intervene to prevent bullying may be at increased risk of retaliation, why would they do so? This paper aims to investigate the importance of school engagement and adaptive shame management (high shame acknowledgment and low shame displacement) in encouraging bystanders to prevent bullying. Data were collected through the Cross-national School Behavior Research Project from 1,452 secondary school students (49% girls) in grades 7 to 10 (M = 8.42) in Bangladesh. As found, students who scored higher on school engagement were more likely to intervene to prevent bullying. High shame acknowledgment (accepting responsibility, making amends) and low shame displacement (blaming or hitting out at others) were also significant predictors of intervening to stop bullying. Regression analysis indicates that school engagement compensates for the adverse effect of non-adaptive shame management (low shame acknowledgment and high shame displacement) on preventing bullying. The implications of these findings for creating a safer school environment are discussed.

Cite the publication as

Ahmed, Eliza (2004) ‘Bystander intervention: School engagement versus shame management’, in Proceedings of the XVI World Meeting of the International Society for Research on Aggression Conference, Santorini, Greece, September 18-22. Printing House of the Abo Akademi University, Finland.

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