Understanding the target audience : using demographics and theory to develop communication campaigns for bystander intervention initiatives




Mabry-Flynn, Amanda Dell

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Bystander intervention initiatives are quickly becoming the preferred approach to reducing the high rates of sexual assault on college campuses across the United States. Although research on the effectiveness of bystander intervention is growing rapidly, little attention has been paid to how campus programs can best design strategic mediated communication campaigns to promote and support these efforts. Effective use of mass mediated communication campaigns can reach students who may not be inclined to attend bystander-related events and can begin to influence attitudes and beliefs associated with engaging in bystander behavior.

The purpose of this study was to provide an evidence base for creating strategic campaigns that are grounded in theory. To that end, relevant theoretical factors drawn from the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) that may be associated with students engaging in bystander behavior were examined. Additionally, individual- and community-level demographics were explored to identify underlying factors that may contribute to differences in TPB beliefs. Findings and implications for communication campaigns are discussed, along with study limitations and opportunities for future research.



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