Toward a More Complete Understanding of Bystander Willingness to Help: What Role Does Critical Consciousness Play?
Sexual assault is a common phenomenon on university campuses with about one in five women victimized while in college. Consequently, bystander intervention programs have been gaining momentum. To improve such programs, research has begun to identify factors that may facilitate or impede individuals’ willingness to help a potential victim of sexual assault. The current study adds to this literature by: (a) examining potential differences in rape myth acceptance, critical consciousness, and willingness to help based on types of self-reported exposure to sexual assault; (b) exploring the previously unexamined mediating role of critical consciousness in the relationship between exposure to sexual assault and willingness to help; and (c) clarifying how the extent of rape myth acceptance impacts the relationship between exposure to sexual assault and willingness to help. Using a sample of 511 U.S. undergraduate students, results generally demonstrated that those with multiple types of exposure to sexual assault victimization demonstrated the highest levels of critical consciousness and greater willingness to help. Additionally, there was both a significant indirect effect of exposure to sexual assault on willingness to help via critical consciousness and a conditional effect of exposure to sexual assault on willingness to help that was stronger at lower levels of rape myth acceptance. Results highlight the importance of programming targeted at increasing critical consciousness.
Bystander behavior, Bystander intervention, Critical consciousness, Prevention, Sexual assault
Rojas-Ashe, Elsa E., Ruth V. Walker, Samantha C. Holmes, and Dawn M. Johnson. "Toward a More Complete Understanding of Bystander Willingness to Help: What Role Does Critical Consciousness Play?." Sex Roles 81, no. 7-8 (2019): 415-427.