Methods: This study uses baseline survey data from a randomized trial of a bystander program among 10th grade high school students (n = 2,707, Mage = 15.4). Two-level regression models accounting for school cluster were conducted to examine associations between descriptive and injunctive norms and bystander intentions, controlling for demographic characteristics and potential barriers and facilitators to bystander behavior. Analyses also tested whether different mechanisms interacted with descriptive norms to influence bystander intentions.
Preliminary Results: Most variables were significantly related to bystander intentions. Specifically, descriptive norms were related to bystander intentions (β = 2.06, p = .04) as were injunctive norms related to friends (β = 4.55, p < .001), students (β = 2.22, p = .03), and teachers (β = 5.97, p < .001). Perceiving teen dating violence (TDV) behaviors as more abusive (β = 11.11, p < .001) and perceiving fewer barriers to helping (β = -4.48, p < .001) were also related to greater bystander intentions. Further, perceptions of TDV abuse (β = -3.29, p = .001), school connectedness (β = -2.76, p = .006), and injunctive norms related to friends (β = -2.44, p = .02) and teachers (β = -2.45, p = .01) significantly moderated the relationship between descriptive norms and bystander intentions.
Conclusions: Findings support the application of TNSB to SV prevention and highlight the importance of perceptions of peer and teacher attitudes, personal perceptions about abuse, and school connectedness as influential to the relationship between descriptive norms and bystander intentions among youth. Incorporating exercises that address perceived social norms into existing bystander intervention training programs may enhance program effects, consistent with the evidence presented in CDC’s STOP SV technical package.