Bystander behavior of adolescents in school bullying: A family functioning perspective

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Na Deng
Hongyan Bi
Wenjuan Zhang
Cite this article:  Deng, N., Bi, H., & Zhang, W. (2021). Bystander behavior of adolescents in school bullying: A family functioning perspective. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 49(8), e10208.


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Although recent researchers of school bullying have focused on peer bystander behavior, they have assessed the link between family-level correlates and bystander behavior to a lesser degree. We examined whether and how family functioning and moral disengagement affect four types of bystander behavior in school bullying. Data were collected from 1,035 early adolescents at two junior high schools in China, who completed scales measuring family functioning, moral disengagement, and bystander behavior. Results show that healthier family functioning was associated with a higher level of bystander defending behavior and a lower level of bystander assisting, reinforcing, and outsider behavior. These associations were partly mediated by adolescents’ moral disengagement. Our findings have important implications for the understanding and reduction of school bullying.

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