Study Finds That Many High School Students Choose Not to Intervene in Dating or Sexual Aggression

unhResearch conducted at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire found that 90 percent of high school students reported that they had an opportunity to intervene in dating or sexual aggression. But only two thirds of these students chose to intervene in these situations.

The data also showed that high school girls were more likely to intervene in incidents of dating or sexual aggression than high school boys. Youth with a history of dating or sexual violence were also more likely to intervene than those who did not have similar histories.

The researchers suggest that district and state policies should be revised to include evidence-based bystander education in the high school health curricula. “Although most curricula include lessons on healthy relationships and dating and sexual aggression, it is less common to have bystander intervention education included,” the researchers said. “Given the mounting evidence that bystander education is a critical component of prevention, we urge policy makers and educators to enhance the presence of this type of education.”

edwardsThe lead author of the study is Katie Edwards, an assistant professor of psychology and women’s studies at the University of New Hampshire. Dr. Edwards is a graduate of the University of Georgia. She earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. at Ohio University in Athens.

The full report, Should I Say Something? Dating and Sexual Aggression Bystander Intervention Among High School Youth, may be downloaded by clicking here.

Filed Under: Research/StudySexual Assault/Harassment


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