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Health Educ Behav. 2018 Oct;45(5):741-747. doi: 10.1177/1090198117752788. Epub 2018 Jan 20.

Prevalence of Bystander Intervention Opportunities and Behaviors Among U.S. Army Soldiers.

Author information

1
1 Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, MD, USA.
2
2 Army Resiliency Directorate, Crystal City, VA, USA.

Abstract

The bystander intervention model is one approach utilized to reduce risky behaviors within the U.S. Army; however, it is unclear how frequently soldiers experience opportunities to intervene and whether they already intervene in such situations. The present analysis aims to ascertain frequencies for opportunities to intervene and the rates at which soldiers intervene when presented with such opportunities. Soldiers ( N = 286) were asked whether they had witnessed particular risky behavior scenarios of interest to the Army (i.e., suicide-related behaviors, alcohol misuse, or sexual harassment/assault) during the previous 2 months and whether they had intervened in those scenarios. Prevalence rates within this sample were calculated to determine the frequency of such situations and subsequent interventions. Logistic regression was used to ascertain any differences in witnessing scenarios by demographic groups. Nearly half (46.8%) of the soldiers reported witnessing at least one scenario involving risky behaviors. Most soldiers who witnessed an event relating to suicide or alcohol misuse also reported consistently intervening (87.9% and 74.4%, respectively), whereas just half consistently intervened in response to scenarios relating to sexual harassment/assault (49.2%). Lower ranking soldiers were twice as likely as higher ranks to witness scenarios involving alcohol misuse (odds ratio = 2.18, 95% confidence interval [1.11, 4.26]) and sexual harassment/assault (odds ratio = 2.21, 95% confidence interval [1.05, 4.62]). These data indicate that soldiers regularly encounter opportunities to intervene in risky behaviors, and while a majority intervened in such scenarios, more training is warranted, particularly around sexual assault and harassment. This supports the notion that bystander intervention training is a worthwhile investment for the Army.

KEYWORDS:

alcohol misuse; bystander intervention; military; sexual assault; sexual harassment; suicide

PMID:
29353545
DOI:
10.1177/1090198117752788

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