Developing and Piloting Videogames to Increase College and University Students' Awareness and Efficacy of the Bystander Role in Incidents of Sexual Violence.

Academic Article


  • OBJECTIVE: Researchers at the Prevention Innovations Research Center at the University of New Hampshire and the Tiltfactor Laboratory at Dartmouth College collaborated with students to create two videogames to teach college students bystander intervention skills in situations of sexual and relationship violence and stalking. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A key strength of the present study is the collaboration with students to educate game development. The research team pooled its ideas to create a trivia game and an interactive scenario game that were pilot tested on first-year students in a midsized campus of a northeastern university. "Each game included subject matter related to sexual assault and bystander intervention, as well as general campus information so the main themes of the game would not be overt and potentially cause participants to resist shifting their attitudes about sexual assault and bystander intervention." Participants completed a pretest and posttest at each testing session and were invited to complete an online follow-up survey 4 weeks following the session. RESULTS: Researchers found that both games had a significant impact on participant bystander efficacy and attitude scores. The interactive scenario game was especially effective in increasing male attitudes toward bystander intervention. The results were most salient for the posttest; however, there was also an increase in male attitudes at the 4-week follow-up. CONCLUSION: The student input was invaluable to the success of the game prototypes. With their help, we concluded that gameplay shows promise as an effective way to introduce the concept of bystander intervention and increase bystander attitudes and efficacy in situations of sexual and relationship violence and stalking to first-year college students.
  • Authors

  • Potter, Sharyn
  • Flanagan, Mary
  • Seidman, Max
  • Hodges, Hannah
  • Stapleton, Jane G
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • February 2019
  • Published In


  • Adolescent
  • Attitude
  • Awareness
  • Bystander behaviors
  • College students
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Sex Offenses
  • Software Design
  • Students
  • Universities
  • Video Games
  • Violence prevention
  • Young Adult
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 30183345
  • Start Page

  • 24
  • End Page

  • 34
  • Volume

  • 8
  • Issue

  • 1