The Moderating Role of Body Appreciation on the Feminine Ideology and Aggression

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Buzgon, Julie
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This study sought to elucidate and expand upon the possible relationships and interactions between the feminine ideology, body appreciation, and indirect aggression reported within a sample of female adolescents. Social learning theorists posit that girls are socialized and reinforced to utilize more ‘feminine,’ or covert, means by which to express their aggression in comparison to their male peers. Girls are instructed from a young age to behave in a manner that is in accordance with the traditional feminine ideology. Additionally, today’s culture has placed unrealistic body standards on the female population, both overtly and tacitly critiquing adolescent girls if their bodies do not conform to society’s standards. Although the existing research linking the feminine ideology and body appreciation to aggression is sparse, it was postulated that an association between the feminine ideology, body appreciation, and indirect aggression may exist.The study also aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of The Goodwill Girls and Boys Curriculum, which was created to encourage more adaptive conflict management styles in a late childhood and early adolescent sample. As bullying is a common problem in school-age children, it is imperative that interventions such as this one receive more attention in the research base. Therefore, another purpose of the current study was to assess whether the implementation of this curriculum could significantly reduce rates of relational and social aggression within a sample of adolescent girls.Research questions were posed in which the relationship between the constructs of the feminine ideology, body appreciation, and indirect aggression were evaluated. Furthermore, The Goodwill Girls and Boys Curriculum was analyzed such that conclusions could be drawn from changes in the self-reported rates of aggression. The small sample size, in addition to other limitations, may have contributed to the few significant findings noted in this study. However, the implications of this study, and areas for future research are discussed within the context of the existing literature base.