Contextual Influences on the Relationship between Physical and Relational Aggression and Peer Victimization

Citation data:

CONFERENCE: Student Research and Creative Activity Fair

Publication Year:
2015
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Repository URL:
https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/srcaf/2015/Schedule/86
Author(s):
Bass, Ellyn
interview description
That social norms and contexts shape peer relationships by providing guidelines for behavior and interactions (e.g., Hinde, 1987) is exemplified by the finding that the relationship between peer victimization and physical and relational aggression is influenced by classroom norms of aggression and school gender ratio, likely due to gender-based norms (Boivin et al., 1995; Velasquez et al., 2010). In further exploration of this relationship, the current study examined the moderating effects of classroom norms of aggression and classroom gender ratio on the relationship between peer victimization and physical and relational aggression in a sample of 1,152 (63.9% female) 5th and 6th graders from 39 classes in four schools from Barranquilla, Colombia. Physical aggression, relational aggression, and peer victimization were assessed by unlimited peer nomination using the Revised Class Play checklist (Masten et al., 1985). Analyses were conducted using multilevel modeling to address the non-independence of peer rating data. Both relational and physical aggression predicted peer victimization and, as expected, girls who exhibited relational aggression were less victimized, while girls who exhibited physical aggression were more victimized. The relationship between physical aggression and victimization was stronger in classrooms with a low proportion of girls in which relational aggression was more normative, whereas the relationship between relational aggression and peer victimization was stronger in classrooms with a low proportion of girls in which physical aggression was more normative. These findings further support that the nature of peer relationships is dependent on social norms (classroom norms of aggression) and context (classroom gender ratio).