Bystander intervention among secondary school pupils : testing an augmented Prototype Willingness Model

Pagani, Stefania and Hunter, Simon C. and Elliott, Mark A. (2022) Bystander intervention among secondary school pupils : testing an augmented Prototype Willingness Model. British Journal of Social Psychology. ISSN 0144-6665 (

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This study augmented the Prototype Willingness Model (PWM) to assess reactive and deliberative decision-making underpinning bystander intervention in gender-based violence contexts. There were 2079 participants (50% male, 49% female, 1% unreported), aged 11-15-years-old (M = 12.32, SD = 0.91), attending 19 secondary schools across Scotland. Participants self-reported the augmented PWM variables, then their intervention behaviour approximately one month later. Path analyses mostly supported the predicted relationships between positive and negative bidimensional attitudes, subjective norms, prototype perceptions, perceived behavioural control, and self-efficacy on intentions and willingness. Willingness predicted positive (speaking with a teacher) and negative (doing nothing) intervention in less serious violence. Self-efficacy predicted negative intervention in more serious violence. Subjective norms positively moderated the attitudes-intentions relationship. Overall, the results suggested that reactive (willingness) more so than deliberative (intention) decision-making account for intervention when young people witness gender-based violence. Additionally, the findings highlight the complexity of bystander intervention decision-making, where adding control perceptions, bidimensional attitudes, and moderators have independent contributions. Furthermore, self-comparison to the typical bystander who positively intervenes (prototype perceptions) was the strongest predictor of intentions and willingness, highlighting in a novel way the importance of image, and group membership on decision-making.


Pagani, Stefania, Hunter, Simon C. and Elliott, Mark A. ORCID logoORCID:;