Overcoming Bystander Apathy and Non-Intervention in Alcohol-Poisoning Emergency Situations: Advancing Field Testing of Training-for-Intervention Theory via Thought Experiments
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Consider groups of partying college students failing to helpfully assist someone in life- threatening distress from alcoholic poisoning. Anecdotal evidence (Davis and DeBarros, 2006) supports the social-norming theory subfield of unresponsive bystander research by Latane and Darley (1970) and others (Cialdini and Goldstein, 2004). This article is a call for structurally transforming the dynamics of the unfolding dramas in natural groups where alcoholic poisoning leading to death occurs. The present article includes the proposal for a quasi-experiment of natural groups (members of fraternities and sororities) in naturally occurring contexts (party situations) using placebo, a standardized training for intervention programs for servers (TIPS) designed for peer intervention, and two versions of advanced TIPS designed to structurally introduce a designated interventionist (DI). The DI and DI training designs are crafted to overcome the unresponsive bystander effect. The proposal includes thought experiments to explain both short- and long-term dependent measures of program impact in such quasi-experiments that include immediate measures of alcohol drinking and intervention knowledge, the medium-term creation and assignment of a group DI position, and the long-term interventionist behavior of groups appointing persons holding DI appointments versus groups not making such appointments
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