Major: Broad Field Social Studies (Psychology emphasis)
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2012
Research Supervisor: Dr. Amy Bellmore, Human Development, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Todd Wilkinson, Psychology, University of Wisconsin-River Falls
Research Location: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Peer Relationships in Schools Lab, Summer 2011
Research Topic: 6th Grade Students’ Expectations of Witness Behavior: Examining the Roles of Witness Identity, Victim Identity, and Perceived School Climate
Abstract: Since witness responses in peer victimization and school climate variables have been found to be a major contributors in peer victimization events, this study was done to examine how the identity of persons in victimization situations and school climate variables affect students’ expectations of witness intervention. A sample of 352 sixth grade students reported their expectations of witness helping behavior depending on the identities of the victim and witness and perceived school safety, support, fairness of school rules, and sense of belonging in the school. Witness identity was found to be a significant determinant of students’ expectations of overall help, and comforting the victim, with teachers being expected to help the most. School climate factors were associated significantly with both overall help and specifically, comforting the victim. The results are discussed in terms of how they are relevant to attempts to minimize peer victimization and promote witness intervention.