Incidents of sexual assault on campuses have been a concern for colleges and universities throughout North America and Europe. Studies estimate a prevalence of 20 to 25 percent of women attending higher education have experienced a completed or attempted sexual assault (Fisher, Cullen & Turner, 2000). The following study examined a unique training program adapted from other bystander training programs for use in classrooms throughout the United States and Europe in educating bystanders about sexual assault prevention (Alegría-Flores, Raker, Pleasants, Weaver & Weinberger, 2015). The purpose of the study was 1) to examine if adverse childhood experiences would predict bystander confidence, behavior and willingness to help and 2) if these behaviors would change based on a an adapted lecture on sexual assault and bystander behavior developed from the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence. A survey was administered to 34 students enrolled in a psychology class in the beginning of the academic semester, prior to lecture. The survey was then administered again to assess if enhanced knowledge might have changed the inclinations of bystanders to act in situations to prevent sexual assault. Findings indicate statistically significant changes (p < .05) for bystander confidence for participants at postintervention. There were no statistically significant differences in bystander behavior or willingness to help with or without prior adverse childhood experiences. The current study provides evidence about the efficacy of bystander components in sexual assault programs, which colleges and universities should consider.


sexual assault; bystander behaviors; college campuses; consent; emerging adults

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Year of Completion



Thomas DeMaria

Academic Department


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Psychology Commons