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For this Discussion, you view a video case in which the circumstances for a potential act of sexual violence are put in motion.


For this Discussion, you view a video case in which the circumstances for a potential act of sexual violence are put in motion.

 For this Discussion, you view a video case in which the circumstances for a potential act of sexual violence are put in motion. You analyze the bystander behavior in the video and the possible effects of sexual violence on survivors and bystanders. 

 Review the Learning Resources on sexual assault, dating violence, and bystander intervention. Focus on the theories of bystander intervention described in the assigned journal articles.

Watch the Johnson Family video case study. Consider the behavior of the people in the video, paying particular attention to a bystander’s decision whether to intervene.

 Apply one bystander intervention theory to the behavior of those exhibited in the video. Then, describe a scenario in which a bystander could have influenced this scenario in a different way. Please use the Learning Resources to support your application of theory. 

Johnson Family Episode 1

Johnson Family Episode 1 Program Transcript

ERIC: Ladies, what’s going on?

TALIA: Hi.

ERIC: I’m Eric.

TALIA: Talia

SHERRY: Sherry.

ERIC: Excellent. So I know some good-looking guys looking for some good- looking girls.

SHERRY: You do, huh?

ERIC: We’re throwing a party Saturday night, and invitation only. I want you guys to come. Lots of booze. You like to dance?

TALIA: I love to dance.

ERIC: Me too. You should dance with me. You better come.

TALIA: All right.

ERIC: Both of you.

SHERRY: Thanks.

ERIC: I’ll see you then? All right, see you later.

TALIA: Bye.

SHERRY: Bye.

TALIA: He’s hot.

SHERRY: You think?

TALIA: Oh, yeah. You gonna go?

SHERRY: Well, yeah, if you’re going to go.

TALIA: Yeah, I’m definitely gonna go.

©2013 Laureate Education, Inc. 1

Johnson Family Episode 1

SHERRY: OK, then we’re going.

TALIA: OK, it’s settled.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

ERIC: Hey, there. How you feeling?

I’m drunk.

ERIC: Yes, you are. Here, have some more.

TALIA: I need to lay down. I don’t feel so good.

ERIC: Oh, no. No, no, no. Not here.

TALIA: Take me home.

ERIC: It’s my frat party. I actually– I’ll tell you what. I’ll take you upstairs. You can use my bed, OK?

TALIA: Sure.

ERIC: All right. Come on, Talia. I got you.

SHERRY: Talia. Hey, are you OK?

TALIA: I’m fine.

SHERRY: You sure? Do you want to go with him?

ERIC: It’s fine. She likes me. Don’t you?

TALIA: Uh-huh.

Johnson Family Episode 1 Additional Content Attribution

MUSIC: Music by Clean Cuts

Original Art and Photography Provided By: Brian Kline and Nico Danks

©2013 Laureate Education, Inc. 2

,

Bystander Intervention to Prevent Sexual Violence: The Overlooked Role of Bystander Alcohol Intoxication

Ruschelle M. Leone Georgia State University

Michelle Haikalis University of Nebraska—Lincoln

Dominic J. Parrott Georgia State University

David DiLillo University of Nebraska—Lincoln

Objectives: Bystander training is a promising form of sexual violence (SV) prevention that has proliferated in recent years. Though alcohol commonly accompanies SV, there has been little consider- ation of the potential impact of bystander alcohol intoxication on SV prevention. The aims of this commentary are to provide an integrative framework for understanding the proximal effect of alcohol on SV intervention, provide recommendations to spark novel research, and guide the application of research to bystander programming efforts. Method: This commentary begins with a review of existing bystander training programs and the need to target alcohol use and misuse in these programming efforts. Next, pertinent alcohol and bystander theories and research are drawn to develop a framework for the proximal effect of alcohol on SV intervention. Results: The well-established decision-making model of bystander behavior (Latané & Darley, 1970) and alcohol myopia theory (Steele & Josephs, 1990) are used to identify potential barriers to SV intervention that may be created or exacerbated by alcohol use. Additionally, the ways in which alcohol may facilitate intervention are discussed. Conclusions: Specific recommendations are made for elucidating the relationship between alcohol and bystander behavior and testing the impact of alcohol at each level of the presented framework. Methodological and analytic concerns are discussed, including the need for more multimethod studies. Recommendations to guide the application of the present framework to SV prevention programming efforts are provided, and consider how the proximal effects of alcohol impact intervention.

Keywords: alcohol myopia, bystander effect, prevention, sexual aggression, sexual assault

Through the myopia it causes, alcohol may tie us to a roller-coaster ride of immediate impulses arising from whatever cues are salient.

—(Steele & Josephs, 1990, p. 923)

. . . situational factors, specifically factors involving the immediate social environment, may be of greater importance in determining an individual’s reaction to an emergency than such broad motivational concepts as “apathy”. . . .

—(Latané & Darley, 1970, p. 127)

Bystander training is a promising form of sexual violence (SV) prevention that has gained widespread favor in recent years

(DeGue et al., 2014). These programs train witnesses to intervene in risky sexual situations, which often involve alcohol (Abbey, 2002; Testa, 2002). Though bystanders, if also intoxicated in these situations, are undoubtedly susceptible to alcohol’s cognitive and attentional influences, there is little empirical data to inform whether intoxication on the part of bystanders interferes with their ability to respond effectively to sexual risk situations. As such, the principal aims of this article are to (a) propose an integrative framework for the proximal effect of alcohol intoxication on by- stander intervention when witnessing SV behavior (hereafter referred to as SV intervention), (b) provide recommendations to stimulate new lines of research, and (c) guide the application of research to bystander programming efforts. This article begins by reviewing bystander training programs and discussing the need to target alcohol use and misuse in these programming efforts. We then provide a framework to understand how the proximal effects of alcohol may influence SV intervention by integrating pertinent alcohol and bystander theories. This framework is the basis for specific recommendations for future research and is used to guide potential applications of findings to prevention programming efforts.

Review of Bystander Training Programming

Bystander training programs have proliferated on college cam- puses in recent years as a key approach to SV prevention. In

This article was published Online First October 19, 2017. Ruschelle M. Leone, Department of Psychology, Georgia State University;

Michelle Haikalis, Department of Psychology, University of Nebraska—Lin- coln; Dominic J. Parrott, Department of Psychology, Georgia State University; David DiLillo, Department of Psychology, University of Nebraska—Lincoln.

Ruschelle M. Leone and Michelle Haikalis contributed equally to this work and share first authorship. Preparation of this article was supported in part by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Grants F31AA024692 awarded to Michelle Haikalis and F31AA024369 awarded to Ruschelle M. Leone.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Ruschelle M. Leone, Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, P.O. Box 5010, Atlanta, GA 30302-5010. E-mail: [email protected]

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Psychology of Violence © 2017 American Psychological Association 2018, Vol. 8, No. 5, 639 – 647 2152-0828/18/$12.00 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/vio0000155

639

contrast to traditional prevention approaches that seek to educate about SV and shift rape-supportive attitudes (Banyard, Plante, & Moynihan, 2004; DeGue et al., 2014; Söchting, Fairbrother, & Koch, 2004), these programs focus on activating individuals to intervene in a range of SV behaviors (Bennett, Banyard, & Garnhart, 2014). Bystander programs serve two main functions: (a) to prevent specific instances of SV from occurring by encour- aging bystanders to engage in intervention when witnessing risky sexual scenarios and (b) to lead a cultural shift by establishing healthy social norms and dispelling rape-supportive attitudes that contribute to SV (Fabiano, Perkins, Berkowitz, Linkenbach, & Stark, 2003). By targeting individual-, peer-, and community-level risk factors for SV, bystander programs answer the numerous calls made for a multilevel, ecological approach to strengthen preven- tion efforts (Banyard, 2011; DeGue et al., 2014). Evaluations indicate that bystander training can attenuate attitudinal barriers to action (e.g., rape-myth acceptance) and increase bystanders’ desire to intervene in risky sexual situations (e.g., bystander intentions; for review, see Katz & Moore, 2013). Though reducing rape- supportive attitudes is desirable, examination of attitudinal out- comes in isolation stops short of the main outcomes of interest, namely, fostering bystander intervention behaviors and reducing the occurrence of SV. A focus on attitudes alone is concerning, given a recent review of SV training programs that target attitu- dinal or knowledge outcomes are ineffective in producing behavior change (DeGue et al., 2014). Moreover, only a few studies have (a) examined whether bystander training leads to increases in self- reported prosocial bystander behavior, and (b) demonstrated pos- itive increases in prosocial bystander behavior following training (Coker et al., 2015; Moynihan et al., 2015).

In-person training is the most common method of enlisting bystanders to intervene and is typically conducted through presen- tations or small group workshops, with audiences most often consisting of U.S. college students. Online trainings have also been developed, which ease the burden of dissemination and have the potential to reach more individuals, more often (Jouriles et al., 2016; Salazar, Vivolo-Kantor, Hardin, & Berkowitz, 2014). Though details vary, trainings share many common components, including SV awareness education, specific techniques to identify sexual risk markers, education about bystanders’ responsibility when they witness risk, and discussion about or practice engaging in strategies to intervene in risky situations (for a review, see Storer, Casey, & Herrenkohl, 2016). Trainings often include some consideration of the well-established finding that alcohol is a contributing factor of SV (Abbey et al., 2002) and focus on encouraging students to recognize risk when in alcohol-related contexts. This focus is particularly important, given that perpetra- tor or victim alcohol intoxication is a factor in over half of sexual assaults (Abbey, 2002; Testa, 2002) and that bystanders report perceiving more barriers to intervention when a potential victim is intoxicated (Pugh, Ningard, Ven, & Butler, 2016).

Though training bystanders to attend to alcohol-related risk is helpful, programming efforts to date have not adequately ad- dressed how alcohol use could influence bystanders themselves. Thus, key questions remain. Are intoxicated individuals less likely to recognize SV risk, less able to engage in bystander behavior, or less effective at intervening? Relatedly, what are the mechanisms by which alcohol might influence bystander witnessing or behav- ior? Surprisingly, no study has directly examined the effects of

alcohol use on bystander behavior in the moment, and only three studies have examined general links between bystander alcohol use and bystander behavior. These latter findings demonstrate that men who drink more heavily are less willing to intervene in SV than men who do not drink heavily (Orchowski, Berkowitz, Bog- gis, & Oesterle, 2016); heavy alcohol use is associated with a lower likelihood of SV intervention among men but not women (Fleming & Wiersma-Mosley, 2015), and bystanders fail to inter- vene in the vast majority of bystander opportunities in bar settings (Graham et al., 2014). Though these findings suggest possible associations between alcohol use and bystander behaviors, the field lacks evidence to inform our understanding of the impact of acute intoxication on bystander behavior and the putative mecha- nisms for this effect.

An Integrative Framework for the Proximal Effect of Alcohol on SV Intervention

The most well-established model of bystander behavior (Ben- nett et al., 2014; Burn, 2009), the decision-making model, posits that bystanders must make a series of decisions to intervene: They must (a) notice the event, (b) identify the situation as intervention appropriate, (c) take responsibility to intervene, (d) decide how to help, and (e) take action (Latané & Darley, 1970). Progressing through these decision-making steps is important for bystanders to engage in prosocial behavior; however, barriers at each step may hinder intervention. As the number of perceived barriers increases, the likelihood that a bystander will engage in SV intervention decreases (Burn, 2009). Moreover, bystanders’ decision-making does not necessarily follow a linear path, wherein each step is subsequently achieved (Banyard, 2011). Depending on the devel- opment of the witnessed situation, bystanders may take in new information and regress to the previous steps. Further, although decision-making is an internal process, bystanders are influenced by contextual variables and previous experiences with witnessing and intervening in SV, which impact current behavior (Banyard, 2011). The present article will use the structure of the internal decision-making process outlined by Latané and Darley (1970), while considering how context and previous experiences impact this process at each step. We argue that alcohol intoxication inhibits bystander behavior because it creates barriers at multiple steps of the decision-making model. Before reviewing data in support of this view, it is important first to establish how acute alcohol intoxication is theorized to influence decision-making and behavior.

Alcohol Myopia Theory

Alcohol myopia theory (AMT; Steele & Josephs, 1990) is one of the most well-accepted explanations of the effects of alcohol intoxication on behavior. AMT purports that the pharmacological properties of alcohol impair attentional capacity and processes. Specifically, this alcohol-related impairment has a narrowing ef- fect on attention, also known as “alcohol myopia,” which restricts the range of internal and external cues individuals perceive and process. By impairing attentional capacity, intoxication causes individuals to allocate or shift their limited attentional focus to the more salient, immediate, and easier to process cues in the envi- ronment. As a consequence, the full meaning of less salient cues is

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640 LEONE, HAIKALIS, PARROTT, AND DILILLO

never fully processed, or possibly even perceived. Importantly, the content of the cues that are processed is posited to influence subsequent behavior.

To help illustrate AMT, attention may be thought of as a spotlight. When individuals are sober, the spotlight is wide and focuses on both salient and less salient cues. However, when an individual is intoxicated, the spotlight is narrow and focuses only on the most immediate and salient cues in the environment, to the exclusion of less salient cues. For example, in SV situations, alcohol would inhibit intervention in cases in which myopia nar- rows attention onto peers who condone forceful sexual behavior (e.g., salient and immediate cue) rather than onto the sexual disinterest or discomfort of the female (e.g., less salient and less immediate cue). In other words, alcohol’s effect on behavior is mediated by narrowed attentional capacity. Research in support of the AMT is well documented, most pertinently in risky sexual behavior and aggression (for a review, see Giancola, Josephs, Parrott, & Duke, 2010).

Bystander Decision-Making: Alcohol as a Barrier to Intervention

At each step of the decision-making model, common barriers are reviewed, followed by a discussion on how alcohol intoxication may facilitate additional barriers at each step (see Table 1).

Step 1. The first step toward bystander intervention is noticing an event. Bystanders may fail to notice SV behaviors for several reasons, such as not looking in the direction of sexual risk behav- iors or due to self-focus or sensory distractions (Burn, 2009; Latané & Darley, 1970). Alcohol increases susceptibility to dis- traction or mind-wandering, lessening one’s ability to attend to information, particularly when it is not especially salient, and simultaneously mitigates the ability to notice one’s mind- wandering (Sayette, Reichle, & Schooler, 2009). In other words, inebriated individuals are more likely to “zone out,” and not realize it, as compared with their sober counterparts. This likelihood that

intoxicated bystanders will be distracted from noticing a risky event is particularly concerning, given that indicators of an un- wanted sexual advance are often subtle (e.g., averted eye contact, paralyzed reactions, and polite resistance).

Next, inattentional blindness, a phenomenon in which individ- uals fail to detect salient unexpected objects in the field of vision (Mack & Rock, 1998; Simons & Chabris, 1999), helps explain why some individuals do not notice risk cues for nearby SV. For example, experimental research that examines this phenomenon has demonstrated approximately half of participants failed to no- tice a woman in a gorilla suit walking across a basketball game they were tasked with monitoring (Simons & Chabris, 1999). SV, particularly less severe forms, may similarly go unnoticed by bystanders whose focus is narrowed due to alcohol intoxication. Recent laboratory-based research suggests alcohol intoxication increases the likelihood of inattentional blindness due to its myo- pic effects, which makes it difficult for individuals to allocate their attention to information outside a directed goal (Clifasefi, Ta- karangi, & Bergman, 2006). In most drinking environments, these goals (e.g., focusing on one’s own conversation) may not routinely encompass risk factors for SV experienced by others. Such find- ings suggest that alcohol-facilitated inattentional blindness de- creases the likelihood that intoxicated bystanders notice seemingly obvious SV behavior.

Step 2. The second step toward intervention is identifying the situation as intervention appropriate, or high in SV risk (Burn, 2009). Bystanders can fail to identify a situation as intervention appropriate due to ambiguity or ignorance. Here, it is important to recognize that SV exists on a continuum that ranges from heinous behaviors (e.g., rape) to actions much more commonly accepted in society (e.g., unwanted sexual com- ments; Stout & McPhail, 1998), which can escalate into more severe behaviors. Not surprisingly, bystanders are more likely to intervene in “dangerous emergencies” because they are less ambiguous and induce higher levels of arousal than lower level

Table 1 Proximal Effects of Alcohol on Bystander Decision-Making

Step Barrier Influences Effects of acute alcohol intoxication

1. Notice an event Failure to notice Self-focus Increases susceptibility to distractions or mind-wandering (Sayette et al., 2009)Sensory distractions

Inattentional blindness Exacerbates inattentional blindness (Clifasefi et al., 2006) 2. Interpret as intervention

appropriate Failure to identify

situation as a risk Ambiguity Ignorance

Cue misinterpretation (Abbey et al., 2005; Farris et al., 2010)

Failure to identify danger cues (Testa, Livingston, & Collins, 2000)

Delay in identifying inappropriate sexual behavior (Gross et al., 2001; Marx et al., 1997)

3. Take responsibility Failure to take responsibility

Diffusion of responsibility Attributions of victims’

worthiness

Narrow bystanders’ attentional focus toward other potential intervenors

Narrow bystanders’ attentional focus toward victim’s “worthiness” and “responsibility”

4. Decide how to help Failure to intervene due to uncertainty or skills deficit

Lack of skills Impairs high-order cognitive functioning, including working memory, problem solving, planning, set shifting, psychomotor speed, and response inhibition (Curtin & Fairchild, 2003; Giancola, 2000) needed to execute skills

5. Choose to act Failure to act due to audience inhibition

Social norms Narrow bystander’s attention on salient peer norms

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641BYSTANDER ALCOHOL INTOXICATION

transgressions (Fischer et al., 2011). Situations with greater ambiguity impede bystanders’ ability to recognize risk. This is concerning because bystanders are more likely to witness pre- assault SV behaviors (e.g., inappropriate sexual conversations), which are more likely to be viewed as ambiguous and thus less likely to be identified as intervention appropriate, than they are to witness ongoing acts of SV (Burn, 2009).

Interpreting complex situational and interpersonal cues is not an easy task, and alcohol intoxication further compromises this pro- cess. Indeed, intoxication distorts men’s ability to interpret a woman’s affective cues by increasing their likelihood of interpret- ing her behavior as sexually suggestive (Abbey, Zawacki, & Buck, 2005; Farris, Treat, & Viken, 2010). Similarly, intoxicated men, relative to sober men, take longer to identify a male’s inappropriate sexual behavior toward a female (Gross, Bennett, Sloan, Marx, & Juergens, 2001; Marx, Gross, & Juergens, 1997), because its ambiguity does not attract the drinker’s myopic or narrowed at- tention. In other words, alcohol can distort or delay bystanders’ understanding of SV risk. Alcohol-induced myopia can also impair women’s abilities to recognize danger cues that may subsequently lead to SV (Parks, Levonyan-Radloff, Dearing, Hequembourg, & Testa, 2016; Testa, Livingston, & Collins, 2000). Though a key goal of bystander training programs is to increase awareness that less severe forms of SV can escalate to more severe violence, the influence of alcohol exacerbates ambiguity in sexual risk situa- tions, thereby impeding intervention.

Step 3. Assuming that a bystander recognizes risk and sees the situation as meriting intervention, the third step toward intervention is taking responsibility to intervene. This step is often obstructed by diffusion of responsibility, or the belief that the onus of helping is shared among all bystanders. Extant literature unequivocally demonstrates that the presence of oth- ers is a robust situational cue that prevents bystanders from intervening in nondangerous emergencies (for a review, see Fischer et al., 2011). Failure to take responsibility is also affected by beliefs about a victim’s “worthiness” (Burn, 2009). Some men report that women are responsible for their own safety, and thus do not feel responsible for intervening in SV (Koelsch, Brown, & Boisen, 2012). Further, greater victim blame is often placed on women dressed provocatively (What- ley, 2005; Workman & Freeburn, 1999) or who have consumed alcohol (for a review, see Grubb & Turner, 2012).

Intoxication can exacerbate the diffusion of responsibility for intervening by narrowing bystanders’ attentional focus toward the presence of others who conceivably could help, thereby thwarting intervention. Alcohol can also facilitate attention toward perceived norms regarding sexual behavior (a salient cue), such as the victim’s “worthiness,” rather than toward risk for SV. For exam- ple, if a victim is drinking alcohol, intoxicated bystanders are likely to focus on the victim’s “responsibility” for the situation, thereby inhibiting intervention behavior. Conversely, if prointer- vention contextual cues are more salient than others’ mere pres- ence or negative perceptions of victim’s “worthiness,” alcohol will facilitate prosocial bystander behaviors via this attentional mech- anism. For example, if the victim is a friend, the relationship to the bystander may be more salient than the presence of others. Thus, alcohol intoxication can conceivably increase the likelihood of prosocial intervention behavior.

Step 4. The fourth step toward intervention is deciding how to help, which may be impaired by a bystander’s a skills deficit or uncertainty about what strategy to use (Burn, 2009). This barrier has been identified as one of the most prevalent in SV intervention (Bennett et al., 2014). Although training programs aim to prepare bystanders to intervene by building behavioral skills (e.g., using distraction) and increasing confidence necessary to intervene (Pot- ter, Stapleton, & Moynihan, 2008), alcohol intoxication presum- ably undermines bystanders’ ability to execute decision-making skills. It is well established that acute alcohol intoxication impairs high-order cognitive functioning, including working memory, problem solving, planning, set shifting, psychomotor speed, and response inhibition (Curtin & Fairchild, 2003; Giancola, 2000). As such, intoxicated bystanders who would otherwise have the skills and confidence to intervene are less able to effectively implement a plan of action due to cognitive impairments induced by alcohol. For example, individuals may not be able to implement a complex plan to help due to impairments in working memory that prevent them from holding parts of their plan in working memory long enough to implement them. Moreover, intoxication may make it difficult for bystanders to shift intervention strategies in response to changes in or escalation of a perpetrator’s tactics.

Step 5. At the final step, choosing to act, the main factor that may stymie intervention behavior is audience inhibition, or the fear of negative evaluation from others (Burn, 2009; Latané & Nida, 1981). This barrier is likely more common among men due to gender norms that prevent men from intruding in another man’s “sexual conquest” (Burn, 2009; Carlson, 2008; Fabiano et al., 2003), or the fear of losing respect from male peers if they intervene (Carlson, 2008). Further, men exposed to male confed- erates who promoted misogynistic, relative to ambiguous, peer norms were significantly less likely to intervene in SV (Leone, Parrott, & Swartout, 2017). Though the power of peer influence is often identified as a barrier to intervention, social context can be harnessed to increase engagement in prosocial behavior. In cases of interpersonal violence that require multiple interveners, individ- uals are more likely to engage in prosocial behavior when they first see others intervene (Christy & Voigt, 1994).

We believe that these social context effects are exacerbated by the myopic effects of alcohol, which focus a bystander’s attention onto highly salient norms and the presence of others rather than SV or its consequences. Although the combined effects of alcohol and audience inhibition have yet to be studied, research that examines general aggression indicates intoxicated, compared with sober, participants administered higher levels of electric shocks to an ostensible opponent within an experimental task when they were observed by peer-confederates who applied social pressure (Taylor & Sears, 1988). In this study, the myopic effects of alcohol likely facilitated participants’ attention to aggression-promoting peer norms and, as a result, facilitated aggressive behavior.

Alternatively, in a situation in which peer norms that condemn SV are most salient, or others engage in helping behavior first, the narrowed attentional capacity of the inebriate will be focused more so on those prointervention cues, leaving little working memory space to focus on less salient, and potentially intervention- inhibiting, cues. As a result, intoxicated bystanders should be more likely to intervene than nonintoxicated bystanders in SV situations. Thus, this barrier may be attenuated by prosocial peers, particu-

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