An application of the theory of normative social behavior to bystander intervention for sexual assault

Tobias Reynolds-Tylus, Kaylee M. Lukacena, Brian L Quick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: Given the high prevalence of sexual assault on U.S. college campuses, the current study examines predictors of college students’ intentions to intervene to prevent sexual assault through the lens of the theory of normative social behavior (TNSB). Participants: One hundred eighty-six undergraduate students age 18–25 were recruited from an introductory course at a large Midwestern university. Methods: Data were collected through an online survey during the 2015–2016 academic year. Results: Results indicated that descriptive norms, injunctive norms, and outcome expectations had direct positive effects on behavioral intention. However, no direct effect of group identity on intention was found. In addition to these main effects, an interaction between descriptive and injunctive norms was also observed. Conclusions: The results of the current study speak to theoretical questions surrounding the nature of TNSB variables, as well as several practical implications for coordinated efforts to promote bystander intervention on college campuses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-559
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of American College Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 18 2019



  • Bystander intervention
  • descriptive norms
  • injunctive norms
  • sexual assault
  • theory of normative social behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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