Bystanders in Bullying: Do ToM and Social Competence Skills Play a Role?


  •  Panayiota Metallidou    
  •  Magdalini Baxevani    
  •  Grigoris Kiosseoglou    

Abstract

The present study aimed at investigating: (a) the direct effects of Theory of Mind (ToM) on elementary school children’s self-reports of participant roles in school bullying, (b) ToM’s indirect effects via self-reported social competence skills. Gender was examined as moderator. A total of 171 elementary school children (Ν = 95 girls) from 3rd to 6thgrade from Greek public schools participated in the study. Participants were examined individually through the administration of advanced ToM stories. Also, they were asked to complete in groups self-report questionnaires as regards their roles as bystanders in bullying situations and their social competence skills. Path analysis indicated significant positive direct effects of ToM on prosocial skills and defending behavior and a negative effect on assisting/reinforcing behavior. Significant indirect effects were found from ToM on bystanding behavior, via its direct effect on prosocial competence skills. Gender was not a significant moderator of the above relations.



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