Teachers’ perceived likelihood of intervening in bullying situations: Individual characteristics and institutional environments

Document Type


Publication Date



Social Work

Publication Title

Journal of School Violence


Complex issues such as bullying have brought to light the importance of expanding school prevention efforts to include interventions focused on multiple levels of practice. Utilizing data gathered from middle-school teachers across the state of Michigan, this study examines how both individual and organizational characteristics influence teacher interventions in bullying situations. The study found that teachers’ beliefs about the perceived seriousness of the bullying situation, teachers’ level of sympathy/empathy toward the students being bullied, and teachers’ ages consistently contributed to their reported likelihood of interventions in bullying situations. Surprisingly, the majority of organizational-level characteristics were not significant predictors of teachers’ reported likelihood of intervention. The findings align with many of the seminal theories of bystander intervention and suggest that school professionals should focus on programs and policies that educate teachers on both the serious consequences of bullying and on factors that promote empathy toward bullied students.

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