Do parenting styles affect motivation to defend in bullying situations? A cross-national study to analyze the contribution of different parenting styles to bystander roles and motivation to defend.

Project: Dissertation

Project Details


Bullying is a global problem and it is defined as the repeated aggression of students who are less advantaged or powerful in their interactions with the bully or bullies (Jimerson, Swearer, & Espelage, 2010; Olweus, 1993). It has been identified as a pervasive problem in schools throughout the world (e.g., Harel-Fisch et al., 2011). According to the Participant Role Approach (Salmivalli, 1999; Salmivalli, Lagerspetz, Björkqvist, Östermalm, & Kaukiainen, 1996) bullying is a group process, and students who observe bullying can assume the roles of assistants, reinforcers, outsiders, or defenders, as well as victims or bullies. Because peer influence is one of the strongest predictors of school bullying (for a review, see Cook, Williams, Guerra, Kim, & Sadek, 2010), students' self-determination to defend victims in bullying should be a crucial component on which bullying interventions should focus. Finally, the prevalence of bullying is highest in the ages when individuals are sensitive to relationships with peers, such as during adolescence (January, Casey, & Paulson, 2011). Despite the clear importance and social cost, very few evidence-based anti-bullying programs exist that are recorded in the literature. A current meta-analysis has found that these programs do not seem to have lasting positive effects on student attitudes to bullying, while the effects appear to be only marginal and short term in reducing school bullying (Jimenez-Barbero, Ruiz-Hernández, Llor-Zaragoza, Pérez-García, & Llor-Esteban, 2016). These modest outcomes are not surprising, considering that these intervention programs are not sufficiently based on current research on social psychological factors that affect school bullying (Swearer & Hymel, 2015). In this study, I attempt to understand whether parenting styles are correlated to a measurable difference in motivation to defend and participant roles, and whether they play a role in the adoption of defensive behaviors during episodes of bullying. The purpose of the proposed cross-national study, to investigate the interaction between individual and situational factors that that impact the motivation to become a defender for Swedish and Italian witnesses of school bullying.
Short titleParenting styles and motivation to defend victims of bullying
Effective start/end date2019/09/022024/08/31

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UKÄ subject classification

  • Psychology