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Relational Aggression and Peer Relations: Gender and Developmental Issues

Gail S. Rys and George G. Bear
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly
Vol. 43, No. 1 (January 1997), pp. 87-106
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23093729
Page Count: 20
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Relational Aggression and Peer Relations: Gender and Developmental Issues
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Abstract

One of the strongest behavioral predictors of peer rejection in boys is physical aggression. Physical aggression in girls is much less common, and other behavioral predictors of rejection in girls have not been well documented. We investigated the relationship between three behaviors (physical aggression, relational aggression, and prosocial behaviors) and three social outcomes (peer rejection, acceptance, and reciprocal friendships) in third- and sixth-grade girls and boys. Significant gender differences in physical aggression and prosocial behaviors were found at both grade levels. Regression analyses demonstrated the gender-specific role of relational aggression. Among girls, but not boys, relational aggression explained variance in rejection beyond that explained by overt aggression. We further found that most children, even the most aggressive, had at least one reciprocal friend.

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