Kindergarten children witnessing victimization

  • Debora Hauser
  • Eveline Gutzwiller-Helfenfinger
  • Françoise D. Alsaker


The present study investigates the reactions children show when witnessing victimization. It was carried out with 968 children from 59 kindergartens, in which victimization occurred. Effects of age and gender are found on both be- haviour supporting the bully and behaviour supporting the victim, as well as helpless behaviour. Moreover, witnessing behaviour varies as a function of bully/victim role: Bullies display more behaviour supporting the (actual) bully; children usually not involved in bullying show more behaviour supporting the victim; and passive victims exhibit more helplessness. Behaviour in the class- room is also related to witnessing reactions: High levels of aggression in the class- room are associated with more reactions supporting the bully, whereas more re- actions supporting the victim are found in groups with higher levels of positive conflict solving. The role of the witnesses is discussed within the framework of bullying prevention.

How to Cite
Hauser, D., Gutzwiller-Helfenfinger, E. and D. Alsaker, F. (2009) “Kindergarten children witnessing victimization”, Swiss Journal of Educational Research, 31(1), pp. 57–74. doi: 10.24452/sjer.36.1.4808.
Thematic contribution