Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #92

Understanding, Measuring, and Changing Bystander Behavior in Bullying

Saturday, May 25, 2019
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Hyatt Regency East, Ballroom Level, Grand Ballroom AB
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Robin Codding, Ph.D.
Chair: Robin Codding (University of Minnesota)
AMANDA NICKERSON (University at Buffalo, The State University of New York)
Amanda Nickerson is a professor of school psychology and director of the Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention at the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York. Her research focuses on school violence and bullying, and the critical role of family, peers, and schools in preventing violence and building social-emotional strengths of youth. Dr. Nickerson has published more than 90 journal articles and book chapters, and written or edited 5 books (including the PREPaRE School Crisis Prevention and Intervention Model and the Handbook of School Violence and School Safety: International Research and Practice, 2nd ed). Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Educational Research Association, the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, and the Committee for Children. Dr. Nickerson served as associate editor of the Journal of School Violence and is on the editorial boards of several other journals in school psychology. She is a licensed psychologist, nationally certified school psychologist, fellow of the American Psychological Association, and Coordinator of Research for the National Association of School Psychologists’ School Safety and Crisis Prevention Committee.

Bullying has received unprecedented attention from legislators, media, and the general public. Studies of the phenomenon have widened the lens from focusing solely on perpetrators and victims to examining the role of peers who are almost always present when bullying occurs. These “bystanders” often remain passive or even join in, which can maintain or increase the bullying behaviors. To inform prevention and intervention efforts, it is important to understand the factors associated with bystanders’ attitudes and actions. In this presentation, findings from a program of research examining the behavior of peers in bullying situations and the factors that predict the likelihood of actively defending (directly or indirectly) in bullying will be highlighted. The measurement, validation, and application of a five-step model of bystander intervention in bullying will be shared. Implications for practice, including the importance of shaping prosocial norms and explicitly teaching the 5-step bystander intervention model and offering multiple intervention options according to individual and situational variables, will be suggested.

Target Audience:

Researchers, educators, mental health professionals (focus on children and adolescents in schools)

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) identify roles of youth in bullying interactions; (2) describe the five-step bystander intervention model as applied to bullying; (3) discuss the individual and situational variables that predict bystander intervention; (4) identify the implications of the role of bystanders in bullying prevention and intervention.



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