Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Laura F. Salazar

Second Advisor

Anne Marie Schipani-McLaughlin


Sexual violence and mental health are public health issues that can negatively impact the health and experience of college students nationwide. Statistics reveal that there is a current mental health crisis among this demographic and statistics connected to sexual violence have resulted in programming and initiatives implemented to reduce its incidence. This study investigates the potential association between one’s mental health and bystander behavior and whether this association is mediated by protective behavioral strategies and the frequency of drinking among female college freshmen. Additionally, this study also examines whether this mediated association is moderated by alcohol use norms. Secondary data was utilized from a randomized controlled trial completed among three campuses in the Southeastern United States which collected data from 881 participants through an online survey. Statistical analyses were completed using SPSS Statistics v.28 software. Twelve moderated mediation analyses were completed using HAYES process macro model 14. Results revealed that there was a positive association between depression and bystander behavior and a positive association between the frequency of alcohol use and bystander behavior. Additionally, it was found that there was no mediating effect of protective behavioral strategies and frequency of alcohol use as well as no moderating effect of alcohol use norms. This research encourages future research on the association between mental health and bystander behavior, understanding the complexity of this association, and the factors that affect it to impact and improve programming and services provided to college students.


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