Gender Differences in Bystander Attitudes Regarding Relational Aggression

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Middle school is a tumultuous right of passage in any person’s life. It is the bridge between elementary school and high school, and it marked by several major life events. “Youth between the ages of 10 to 15 are characterized by their diversity as they move through the puberty growth cycle at varying times and rates.” Students of this age are sensitive and have a strong need for approval from others; they seek associations, relationships, and links with people, things, and new ideas. Also, during the middle school years, the aggressive behaviors increase for both boys and girls. However, each gender experiences aggression becomes significantly different during these middle school years. Moreover, bullying is defined either can cause physical or psychological harm to an individual by someone else (Peter K. Smith and Katerina Ananiadou , 2003). There are many researches have focused on boys and physical aggression (Brame, B., Nagin, D. S., & Tremblay, R. E., 2001, Nagin, D., & Tremblay, R. E., 1999, Nagin, D., & Tremblay, R. E. 1999). However, it is not just boys who experience aggressive behaviors during this time, the form of relational aggression is most commonly observed among girls, instance of threatening, relationship damaging and gossip. In Shannon’s study (as cited in Crick, Ostrov, & Werner, 2006) found that this type of aggression can be just as detrimental to girls as physical aggression is to boys.
In November 2000, 14-years-old Canadian girl Dawn-Marie Wesley committed suicide by hanging herself with a dog leash in her bedroom after experiencing a cycle of psychological abuse and verbal threats from three female classmates. When Kyla begin to harass Dawn-Marie, she encouraged her other friends to participant and ve...

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... we set out to do” (p. 3). If girls are look for a maintain nice conduct but find some channel to express their anger or pursue their social goals in ways for which they may not be held accountable, social aggression might be emotionally competent indeed ( Underwood, 2003, p.7). Moreover, another theory will help us to deeply understand why gender differences in social behaviors may emerge. One of the examples in this theory is that if it is indeed the case that girls value relationships so dearly, it makes sense that when they feel furious, they might seek to harm others by damaging friendships and social standing (Crick & Grotpeter, 1995; Galen &Underwood, 1997).
The question still remains as to why girls begin to resort to these behaviors. This may be better understood in reviewing the development of relational aggression, from pre-school to adolescence.

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