School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy


Christian Raby


Self-efficacy, Empathy, Sexual Assault, Bystander Effect


Education | Higher Education


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to understand the perceived role of empathy and self-efficacy in college students that have completed a bystander intervention training program and intervened to prevent a potential sexual assault situation at two small private Christian colleges. The theories guiding this study are Bandura’s social learning theory and theories of self-efficacy. Bandura’s (1977) social learning theory suggests that individuals quickly learn new behaviors through observation and modeling. Bystander intervention programs that include opportunities for college students to observe and listen to the stories of females that have experienced a sexual assault may increase empathy in college students, making them more likely to engage in intervening behaviors. Based on Bandura’s (1977) theories of self-efficacy, students that have completed bystander training may feel more confident in engaging in intervening behaviors. The participants in this study were students who were currently enrolled in an undergraduate program, had completed bystander training, and self-identified as having intervened to prevent a potential sexual assault situation. There was a sample size of 12 participants. Data were collected using interviews, participant letters, and focus groups. Data were analyzed using Moustakas’s method of data analysis, which aligns with transcendental phenomenological research.