Gender-normative and -nonnormative aggression in preadolescent girls
Blake, Jamilia J.
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There is a growing body of research which suggests that girls’ social and psychological adjustment might be impacted by the form of aggression they exhibit. Additionally, there is emerging evidence in the female aggression literature which suggests that ethnicity moderates the relationship between adjustment and girlhood aggression. However, the underlying cause of ethnic differences in female aggression is unknown. Study I of this report used peer- and teacher-ratings of aggression to examine whether the adjustment patterns of girls exhibiting social and overt forms of aggression differ by ethnicity. Results indicated that girls who exhibit overt forms of aggression exhibit greater adjustment difficulties than girls exhibiting social forms of aggression. However, this relationship was more pronounced for aggressive White girls than aggressive Black girls. Socially aggressive White girls were found to be well-adapted psychologically, but to exhibit low peer preference and school maladjustment. No differences in the adjustment patterns of aggressive Black girls were observed. Study II, a follow-up to the first sty, attempted to explore why ethnic differences might exist in girls’ use of aggression. The degree to which parents’ reaction to childhood aggression influenced girls’ use of aggression was explored through peer-nominations of aggression and parents’ ratings of their reactions to their child’s use of aggression. Results indicated that White parents were more disapproving of childhood aggression than Black parents. Parents’ reaction to aggression was predictive of girls’ use of overt forms of aggression. However, this relationship was significant only for White girls and did hold not for Black girls.