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 July 25, 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 July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
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