This research was supported by a Belfer-Aptman Dissertation Award from The Melissa Institute. The authors would like to thank Jean-Phillipe Laurenceau for his statistical consultation, as well as the project’s undergraduate research assistants for their hard work and dedication. Most of all, they appreciate the help of the children, parents, teachers, and principals who made this project possible.
Children’s Physiological and Emotional Reactions to Witnessing Bullying Predict Bystander Intervention
Article first published online: 29 AUG 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Child Development © 2012 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
Volume 84, Issue 1, pages 375–390, January/February 2013
How to Cite
Barhight, L. R., Hubbard, J. A. and Hyde, C. T. (2013), Children’s Physiological and Emotional Reactions to Witnessing Bullying Predict Bystander Intervention. Child Development, 84: 375–390. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01839.x
- Issue published online: 25 JAN 2013
- Article first published online: 29 AUG 2012
Study goals were to explore whether children clustered into groups based on reactions to witnessing bullying and to examine whether these reactions predicted bullying intervention. Seventy-nine children (M = 10.80 years) watched bullying videos in the laboratory while their heart rate (HR) was measured, and they self-reported on negative emotion after each video. Bullying intervention was assessed by school peers. Two groups emerged based on reactions to the bullying videos: The Emotional group (43% of children) displayed HR acceleration and reported high negative emotion, whereas the Unemotional group (57% of children) showed HR deceleration and reported low negative emotion. Group membership predicted bullying intervention, with peers reporting that Emotional children were more likely to stop a bully than Unemotional children.