Advertisement

Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 757–771 | Cite as

Social Capital and Bystander Behavior in Bullying: Internalizing Problems as a Barrier to Prosocial Intervention

  • Lyndsay N. Jenkins
  • Stephanie Secord FredrickEmail author
Empirical Research

Abstract

Theory and research suggests that individuals with greater social capital (i.e., resources and benefits gained from relationships, experiences, and social interactions) may be more likely to be active, prosocial bystanders in bullying situations. Therefore, the goal of the current study was to examine the association of social capital (social support and social skills) with prosocial bystander behavior, and the role of internalizing problems as a potential barrier to this relation among 299 students (45.8% girls, 95% White) in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. Results indicate a positive relation between social capital and prosocial bystander behavior. In addition, internalizing problems were a significant risk factor that may hinder youth—particularly girls—from engaging in defending behavior. Prosocial bystanders are an essential component to prevent and reduce bullying and further research is needed to better understand how to foster prosocial behavior in bullying situations, perhaps by utilizing social capital, related to school bullying.

Keywords

Social capital Defending Bystander behavior Social skills Social support 

Notes

Funding

The study did not have any sources of funding.

Authors’ Contributions

L. J. conceived of the study, coordinated and oversaw data collection, and helped with the design of the study. S. F. helped with the design of the study and performed the statistical analysis and data interpretation. Both authors drafted the manuscript and read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Data were collected at a middle school as part of a school-wide social and emotional evaluation. In accordance with school procedures, parents/guardians provided consent for all social, emotional, behavioral, and academic universal evaluations (i.e., assessments given to all students) at the beginning of the school year at registration. One week prior to the evaluation, a letter was sent to parents/guardians to notify them of the data collection and were given the option to have their child opt out of participating in the study.

References

  1. Abdi, B. (2010). Gender differences in social skills, problem behaviours and academic competence of Iranian preschool children based on their parent and teacher ratings. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 5, 1175–1179. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.07.256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anme, T., Shinohara, R., Sugisawa, Y., Tong, L., Tanaka, E., Watanabe, T. et al. & Japan Children’s Study Group. (2010). Gender differences of children’s social skills and parenting using interaction rating scale (IRS). Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2, 260–268. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.03.008.
  3. Atav, S., & Spencer, G. A. (2002). Health risk behaviors among adolescents attending rural, suburban, and urban schools: A comparative study. Family and Community Health, 25, 53–64. doi: 10.1097/00003727-200207000-00007.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Barchia, K., & Bussey, K. (2011). Predictors of student defenders of peer aggression victims: Empathy and social cognitive factors. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 35, 289–297. doi: 10.1177/0165025410396746.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barriga, A. Q., Doran, J. W., Newell, S. B., Morrison, E. M., Babbetti, V., & Robbins, B. D. (2002). Relationships between problem behaviors and academic achievement in adolescents: The unique role of attention problems. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 10, 233–240. doi: 10.1177/10634266020100040501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown, B. B., & Klute, C. (2003). Cliques, crowds, and friendships. In G. R. Adams & M. Berzonsky (Eds.), Handbook of Adolescent Development (pp. 330–348). London: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  7. Cappadocia, M. C., Pepler, D., Cummings, J. G., & Craig, W. (2012). Individual motivations and characteristics associated with bystander intervention during bullying episodes among children and youth. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 27, 201–216. doi: 10.1177/0829573512450567.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Caravita, S. C. S., Di Blasio, P. D., & Salmivalli, C. (2009). Unique and interactive effects of empathy and social status on involvement in bullying. Social Development, 18, 140–163. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9507.2008.00465.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cobb, S. (1976). Social support as a moderator of life stress. Psychosomatic Medicine, 38, 300–314. doi: 10.1097/00006842-197609000-00003.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Cohen, S., & Wills, T. (1985). Stress, social support, and the buffering hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 98, 310–357. doi: 10.1037//0033-2909.98.2.310.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Colarossi, L. G., & Eccles, J. S. (2003). Differential effects of support providers on adolescents’ mental health. Social Work Research, 27, 19–30. doi: 10.1093/swr/27.1.19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Costello, J. E., Mustillo, S., Erkanli, A., Keeler, G., & Angold, A. (2003). Prevalence and development of psychiatric disorders in childhood and adolescence. Archives of General Psychiatry, 60(8), 837–844. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.60.8.837.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Davidson, L. M., & Demaray, M. K. (2007). Social support as a moderator between victimization and internalizing-externalizing distress from bullying. School Psychology Review, 36, 383–405.Google Scholar
  14. Demaray, M. K., Malecki, C. K., Davidson, L. M., Hodgson, K. K., & Rebus, P. J. (2005). The relationship between social support and student adjustment: A longitudinal analysis. Psychology in the Schools, 42(7), 691–706. doi: 10.1002/pits.20120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Demaray, M. K., Summers, K. H., Jenkins, L. N., & Becker, L. (2014). The bully participant behavior questionnaire (BPBQ): Establishing a reliable and valid measure. Journal of School Violence, 15, 158–188. doi: 10.1080/15388220.2014.964801.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dowdy, E., Chin, J. K., Twyford, J. M., & Dever, B. V. (2011). A factor analytic investigation of the BASC-2 behavioral and emotional screening system parent form: Psychometric properties, practical implications, and future directions. Journal of School Psychology, 49, 265–280. doi: 10.1016/j.jsp.2011.03.005.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Dubow, E. F., & Ullman, D. G. (1989). Assessing social support in elementary school children: The survey of children’s social support. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 18, 158–166. doi: 10.1207/s15374424jccp1802_7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta‐analysis of school‐based universal interventions. Child Development, 82, 405–432. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01564.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Espelage, D. L., Low, S., Polanin, J. R., & Brown, E. C. (2015). Clinical trial of second step© middle-school program: Impact on aggression & victimization. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 37, 52–63. doi: 10.1016/j.appdev.2014.11.007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Evans, C. B., & Smokowski, P. R. (2015). Prosocial bystander behavior in bullying dynamics: Assessing the impact of social capital. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 44, 2289–2307. doi: 10.1007/s10964-015-0338-5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Evans, C. B., & Smokowski, P. R. (2016). Negative bystander behavior in bullying dynamics: Assessing the impact of social capital deprivation and anti-social capital. Child Psychiatry Human Development, 48(1), 120–135. doi: 10.1007/s10578-016-0657-0.
  22. Evers, K., Prochaska, J. O., Van Marter, D., Johnson, J., & Prochaska, J. M. (2007). Transtheoretical-based bullying prevention effectiveness trials in middle schools and high schools. Educational Research, 49, 397–414. doi: 10.1080/00131880701717271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fischer, P., Greitemeyer, T., Kastenmuller, A., Krueger, J., Vogrincic, C., Frey, D., Heene, M., Wicher, M., & Kainbacher, M. (2011). The bystander-effect: A meta-analytic review on bystander intervention in dangerous and non-dangerous emergencies. Psychological Bulletin, 137, 517–537. doi: 10.1037/a0023304.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Fischer, P., Greitemeyer, T., Pollozek, F., & Frey, D. (2006). The unresponsive bystander: Are bystanders more responsive in dangerous emergencies? European Journal of Social Psychology, 36, 267–278. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fredrick, S. S., Demaray, M. K., & Jenkins, L. N. (2016). Multidimensional perfectionism and internalizing problems: Does teacher and classmate support matter? Journal of Early Adolescence. doi: 10.1177/0272431616636231.
  26. Frey, K. S., Hirschstein, M. K., Snell, J. L., Edstrom, L., Van Schoiack, L., MacKenzie, E. P., & Broderick, C. J. (2005). Reducing playground bullying and supporting beliefs: An experimental trial of the steps to respect program. Developmental Psychology, 41, 479–491. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.41.3.479.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Gini, G., Albiero, P., Benelli, B., & Altoè, G. (2007). Does empathy predict adolescents’ bullying and defending behavior? Aggressive Behavior, 35, 467–476. doi: 10.1002/ab.20204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gini, G., Albiero, P., Benelli, B., & Altoe, G. (2008). Determinants of adolescents’ active defending and passive bystanding behavior in bullying. Journal of Adolescence, 31, 93–105. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2007.05.002.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Gresham, F. M., & Elliott, S. N. (2008). Social skills improvement system: Rating scales manual. Minneapolis, MN: Pearson Assessments.Google Scholar
  30. Gresham, F. M., Elliott, S. N., Vance, M. J., & Cook, C. R. (2011). Comparability of the Social Skills Rating System to the Social Skills Improvement System: Content and psychometric comparisons across elementary and secondary age levels. School Psychology Quarterly, 26(1), 27–44. doi: 10.10.1037/a0022662.
  31. Harter, S. (1985). Competence as a dimension of self-evaluation: Toward a comprehensive model of self-worth. In R. L. Leahy (Ed.), The development of the self (pp. 55–121). New York, NY: Academic.Google Scholar
  32. Hawkins, D. L., Pepler, D. J., & Craig, W. M. (2001). Naturalistic observations of peer interventions in bullying. Social Development, 10, 512–527. doi: 10.1111/1467-9507.00178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hawley, P. H. (2003). Prosocial and coercive configurations of resource control in early adolescence: A case for the well-adapted Machiavellian. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 49, 279–309. doi: 10.1353/mpq.2003.0013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hawley, P. H., Shorey, H. S., & Alderman, P. M. (2009). Attachment correlates of resource control strategies: Possible origins of social dominance and interpersonal power differentials. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 26, 1097–1118. doi: 10.1177/0265407509347939.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hawley, P. H., & Williford, A. (2015). Articulating the theory of bullying intervention programs: Views from social psychology, social work, and organizational science. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 37, 3–15. doi: 10.1016/j.appdev.2014.11.006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Holt, M. K., & Espelage, D. L. (2007). Perceived social support among bullies, victims, and bully-victims. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 36(8), 984–994. doi: 10.1007/s10964-006-9153-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hooper, D., Coughlan, J., & Mullen, M. R. (2008). Structural equation modeling: Guidelines for determining model fit. The Electronic Journal of Business Methods, 6, 53–60. www.ejbrm.com Retrieved from.Google Scholar
  38. Jenkins, L. N., Demaray, M. K., Fredrick, S. S., & Summers, K. H. (2014). Associations among middle school students’ bullying roles and social skills. Journal of School Violence, 15, 259–278. doi: 10.1080/15388220.2014.986675.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kamphaus, R. W., & Reynolds, C. R. (2007). BASC-2 behavioral and emotional screening system (BESS) manual. Circle Pines, MN: Pearson.Google Scholar
  40. Karna, A., Voeten, M., Little, T., Poksiparta, E., Alanen, E., & Salmivalii, C. (2011). Going to scale: A nonrandomized nationwide trial of the KiVa antibullying program for grades 1-9. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 79, 796–805. doi: 10.1037/a0025740.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Klem, A. M., & Connell, J. P. (2004). Relationships matter: Linking teacher support to student engagement and achievement. Journal of School Health, 74(7), 262–273. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.2004.tb08283.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Kovacs, M., & Beck, A. T. (1977). An empirical-clinical approach toward a definition of childhood depression. In J. G. Schulterbrandt & A. Raskin (Eds.), Depression in childhood: Diagnosis, treatment, and conceptual models (pp. 1–25). New York, NY: Raven.Google Scholar
  43. Latané, B., & Darley, J. M. (1970). The unresponsive bystander: Why doesn’t he help? Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  44. Levine, M. (1999). Rethinking bystander nonintervention: Social categorization and the evidence of witnesses at the James Bulger murder trial. Human Relations, 52, 1133–1155. doi: 10.1177/001872679905200902.Google Scholar
  45. Lin, N. (2001). Social capital: A Theory of social structure and action. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Low, S., & Van Ryzin, M. (2014). The moderating effects of school climate on bullying prevention efforts. School Psychology Quarterly, 29, 306–319. doi: 10.1037/spq0000073.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Maccoby, E. E. (1990). Gender and relationships: A developmental account. American Psychologist, 45(4), 513–520. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.45.4.513.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Malecki, C. K., & Demaray, M. K. (2003). What type of support do they need? Investigating student adjustment as related to emotional, informational, appraisal, and instrumental support. School Psychology Quarterly, 18(3), 231–252. doi: 10.1521/scpq.18.3.231.22576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Malecki, C. K., Demaray, M. K., & Elliott, S. N. (2000). The child and adolescent social support scale. DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University.Google Scholar
  50. Merrell, K. W., Carrizales, D. C., Feuerborn, L., Gueldner, B. A., & Tran, O. K. (2007). Strong teens-Grades 9-12: A social-emotional learning curriculum. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.Google Scholar
  51. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (1998–2015). Mplus user’s guide. 7th edn. Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
  52. Nangle, D. W., Erdley, C. A., Newman, J. E., Mason, C. A., & Carpenter, E. M. (2003). Popularity, friendship quantity, and friendship quality: Interactive influences on children’s loneliness and depression. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 32, 546–555. doi: 10.1207/S15374424JCCP3204_7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Nansel, T., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R., Ruan, W., Simons-Morton, B., & Scheidt, P. (2001). Bullying behaviors among U.S. youth: Prevalence and associations with psychosocial adjustment. Journal of the American Medical Association, 285, 2094–2100. doi: 10.1001/jama.285.16.2094.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  54. Nickerson, A. B., Mele, D., & Princiotta, D. (2008). Attachment and empathy as predictors of roles as defenders or outsiders in bullying interactions. Journal of School Psychology, 46, 687–703. doi: 10.1016/j.jsp.2008.06.002.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Nickerson, A. B., & Mele-Taylor, D. (2014). Empathetic responsiveness, group norms, and prosocial affiliations in bullying roles. School Psychology Quarterly, 29, 99–109. doi: 10.1037/spq0000052.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Obradovic, J., & Hipwell, A. (2010). Psychopathology and social competence during the transition to adolescence: The role of family adversity and pubertal development. Development and Psychopathology, 22(3), 621–634. doi: 10.1017/S0954579410000325.
  57. O’Connor, L. E., Berry, J. W., Weiss, J., & Gilbert, P. (2002). Guilt, fear, submission, and empathy in depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 71, 19–27. doi: 10.1016/S0165-0327(01)00408-6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Olivia, A., Parra, A., & Reina, C. (2014). Personal and contextual factors related to internalizing problems during adolescence. Child Youth Care Forum, 43(4), 505–520. doi: 10.1007/s10566-014-9250-5.
  59. Perren, S., Forrester-Knauss, C., & Alsaker, F. D. (2012). Self- and other-oriented social skills: Differential associations with children’s mental health and bullying roles. Journal for Educational Research Online, 4, 99–123. http://www.j-f-b.de/index.php/jero/index.Google Scholar
  60. Polanin, J., Espelage, D., & Pigott, T. (2012). A meta-analysis of school-based bullying prevention programs’ effects on bystander intervention behavior. School Psychology Review, 41, 47–65.Google Scholar
  61. Pöyhönen, V., Juvonen, J., & Salmivalli, C. (2010). What does it take to stand up for the victim of bullying? The interplay between personal and social factors. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 56(2), 143–163. doi: 10.1353/mpq.0.0046.
  62. Pozzoli, T., Gini, G., & Vieno, A. (2012). The role of individual correlates and class norms in defending and passive bystanding behavior in bullying: A multilevel analysis. Child Development, 83, 1917–1931. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01831.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  64. Reddy, R., Rhodes, J. E., & Mulhall, P. (2003). The influence of teacher support on student adjustment in the middle school years: A latent growth curve study. Development and Psychopathology, 15, 119–138. doi: 10.1017/S0954579403000075.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Rose, A. J., Carlson, W., & Waller, E. M. (2007). Prospective associations of co-rumination with friendship and emotional adjustment: considering the socioemotional trade-offs of co-rumination. Developmental Psychology, 43(4), 1019–1031. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.43.4.1019.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  66. Rueger, S. Y., Malecki, C. K., & Demaray, M. K. (2008). Gender differences in the relationship between perceived social support and student adjustment during early adolescence. School Psychology Quarterly, 23, 496–514. doi: 10.1037/1045-3830.23.4.496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Rueger, S. Y., Malecki, C. K., & Demaray, M. K. (2010). Relationship between multiple sources of perceived social support and psychological and academic adjustment in early adolescence: Comparisons across gender. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39, 47–61. doi: 10.1007/s10964-008-9368-6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. Rueter, M. A., & Kwon, H. K. (2005). Developmental trends in adolescent suicidal ideation. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 15, 205–222. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-7795.2005.00092.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Salmivalli, C., Lagerspetz, K., Björkqvist, K., Österman, K., & Kaukiainen, A. (1996). Bullying as a group process: Participant roles and their relations to social status within the group. Aggressive Behavior, 22, 1–15. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1098-2337(1996)22:1<1::AID-AB1>3.0.CO;2-T.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Satorra, A., & Bentler, P. M. (2001). A scaled difference chi-square test statistic for moment structure analysis. Psychometrika, 66, 507–514. doi: 10.1007/BF02296192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Schafer, J. L., & Graham, J. W. (2002). Missing data: Our view of the state of the art. Psychological Methods, 7(2), 147–177. doi: 10.1037//1082-989X.7.2.147.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  72. Schaps, E. (2009, March/April). Creating caring school communities. Leadership, 38(4), 8–11. Retrieved from www.collaborativeclassroom.org.
  73. Smokowski, P. R., Cotter, K. L., Robertson, C., & Guo, S. (2013). Demographic, psychological, and school environment correlates of bullying victimization and school hassles in rural youth. Journal of Criminology. doi: 10.1155/2013/137583.
  74. Smokowski, P. R., Guo, S., Rose, R., Evans, C. B. R., & Cotter, K. L. (2014). Multilevel risk and protective factors for internalizing symptoms and self-esteem in disadvantaged adolescents: Modeling developmental trajectories from the rural adaptation project. Development and Psychopathology, 26, 1495–1513. doi: 10.1017/S0954579414001163.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  75. Stevens, V., Oost, P. V., & Bourdeaudhuij, I. D. (2000). The effects of an anti-bullying intervention programme on peers’ attitudes and behaviour. Journal of Adolescence, 23, 21–34.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  76. Summers, K. H., & Demaray, M. K. (2008). Bully participant behavior questionnaire. DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University.Google Scholar
  77. Sutton, J., Smith, P. K., & Swettenham, J. (1999). Social cognition and bullying: Social inadequacy or skilled manipulation? British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 17, 435–450. doi: 10.1348/026151099165384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Ttofi, M. M., & Farrington, D. P. (2011). Effectiveness of school-based programs to reduce bullying: A systematic and meta-analytic review. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 7, 27–56. doi: 10.1007/s11292-010-9109-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Whitaker, D. J., Rosenbluth, B., Valle, L. A., & Sanchez, E. (2004). Expect respect: A school-based intervention to promote awareness and effective responses to bullying and sexual harassment. In D. L. Espelage, & S. M. Swearer (Eds.), Bullying in American schools. 1st edn. (pp. 327–350). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  80. Wicks-Nelson, R., & Israel, A. C. (Eds.) (1991). Behavior disorders of childhood. New Jersey City, NJ: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyEastern Illinois UniversityCharlestonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyCentral Michigan UniversityMt. PleasantUSA

Personalised recommendations