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Publication: Assistant Professor David S. Byers and Ph.D. Student Carmen Moedano

May 5, 2023

Social Identity as a Factor in Bystander Responses to Bias-Based Verbal Aggression Among College Students

Authors: Shveta Kumaria, David S. Byers, Katherine M. McCarthy, Carmen Moedano

Source: Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma,  DOI: 10.1080/10926771.2023.2204844, May 2023

Type of Publication: Article

Abstract: Bias-based bullying is a significant problem in the United States, including aggression targeting college students with minoritized social identities. Bystander responsiveness can help to buffer the effects, but social identity factors may influence how students respond to bias-based aggression among peers. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of a subsample (N = 7,291) of the 2018–2019 Healthy Minds Study to test correlations between racial, sexual, and gender identities and self-reported and hypothetical peer interventions. Students who identify with minoritized sexual and gender identities, across racial identities, are most likely to report past or intended interventions while students who identify as straight, cisgender, male, and White are least likely. Specifically, students with minoritized sexual and gender identities are 32% more likely than straight and cisgender peers to report that they had intervened in the past year and 36% more likely to indicate that they intend to intervene in the future. Experiences of discrimination and belonging are significant but separate covariates. Interventions to support peer responsiveness must attend to dynamics of power, oppression, and social identity to reach more students.

David S. Byers is an assistant professor and Carmen Moedano is a doctoral candidate at the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research.

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