Bullying bystander behaviors: The role of coping effectiveness and the moderating effect of gender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Researchers have suggested that bystander behaviors and victim coping play an important role in counteracting the negative effects of bullying. The current study investigated the relationship between students’ ratings of coping effectiveness when addressing bullying and their behaviors as bystanders when witnessing bullying. Surveys were administered in a Midwestern, suburban school district. Some associations between perceptions of coping effectiveness and bystander behavior supported our hypotheses (e.g., constructive coping associated with defending bystander behaviors, externalizing associated with pro-bullying behaviors). However, some findings did not support hypothesized relationships. For example, higher ratings of effectiveness for cognitive distancing as a coping strategy were associated with increased defending behaviors as a bystander. Gender moderated some of these relationships. Pro-bullying bystander behavior was associated with increased ratings of cognitive distancing and decreased reports of constructive coping effectiveness for girls. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.


  • Leandra Parris
  • Tomas Jungert
  • Robert Thornberg
  • Kris Varjas
  • Joel Meyers
  • Stephanie Grunewald
  • David Shriberg
External organisations
  • Illinois State University
  • Linköping University
  • Georgia State University
  • Indiana University
  • Restorative Counseling, Chicago
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)


  • Bullying, bystander, coping, coping effectiveness, gender
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-46
JournalScandinavian Journal of Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date2019 Jun 28
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch