Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Move Over Mean Girls -- Boys Can Be Socially Aggressive, Too

Date:
September 18, 2008
Source:
Society for Research in Child Development
Summary:
A new analysis contradicts the notion that "social" aggression, such as spreading rumors, is a female and not male form of aggression. The researchers analyzed 148 studies of social and physical aggression, encompassing 74,000 children and adolescents. Children who carry out one form of aggression (social or physical) were inclined to carry out the other form. Social aggression is related to delinquency and ADHD-type symptoms, while physical aggression is related to depression and low self-esteem.

Society holds that when it comes to aggression, boys hit and punch, while girls spread rumors, gossip, and intentionally exclude others, a type of aggression that's called indirect, relational, or social. Now a new analysis of almost 150 studies of aggression in children and adolescents has found that while it's true that boys are more likely to engage in physical aggression, girls and boys alike take part in social aggression.

"These conclusions challenge the popular misconception that indirect aggression is a female form of aggression," according to Noel A. Card, assistant professor of family studies and human development at the University of Arizona and the study's lead author.

The analysis of 148 studies, which comprised almost 74,000 children and adolescents and were carried out largely in schools, looked at both direct aggression, which is usually defined as physical, and indirect aggression, which includes covert behavior designed to damage another individual's social standing in his or her peer group. Conducted by Card and researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Kansas, the analysis appears in the September/October 2008 issue of the journal Child Development.

The researchers suggest that the myth that girls are more likely to be indirectly or socially aggressive than boys has persisted among teachers, parents, and even other researchers because of social expectations that develop early in life and recent movies and books that portray girls as mean and socially aggressive toward one another.

Based on the analysis, the researchers suggest that children who carry out one form of aggression may be inclined to carry out the other form; this is seen more in boys than in girls. They also found ties between both forms of aggression and adjustment problems. Specifically, direct aggression is related to problems like delinquency and ADHD-type symptoms, poor relationships with peers, and low prosocial behavior such as helping and sharing. In contrast, indirect aggression is related to problems like depression and low self-esteem, as well as higher prosocial behavior—perhaps because a child must use prosocial skills to encourage peers to exclude or gossip about others.

The study was funded, in part, by the National Institute of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Research in Child Development. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Card et al. Direct and Indirect Aggression During Childhood and Adolescence: A Meta-Analytic Review of Gender Differences, Intercorrelations, and Relations to Maladjustment. Child Development, 2008; 79 (5): 1185 DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2008.01184.x

Cite This Page:

Society for Research in Child Development. "Move Over Mean Girls -- Boys Can Be Socially Aggressive, Too." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080916100934.htm>.
Society for Research in Child Development. (2008, September 18). Move Over Mean Girls -- Boys Can Be Socially Aggressive, Too. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080916100934.htm
Society for Research in Child Development. "Move Over Mean Girls -- Boys Can Be Socially Aggressive, Too." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080916100934.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins