“We're not friends anymore! unless…”: the frequency and harmfulness of indirect, relational, and social aggression

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Abstract

The frequency of items of indirect, relational, social, verbal, and physical aggression was assessed in the school environment of 422 adolescents, using the Indirect/Social/Relational Aggression scale (ISRA), a measure that combined items from indirect, relational, and social aggression research. We also assessed the perceived harmfulness of each item. Comparing these findings with the occurrence of aggression on television, we found that adolescents were exposed to nearly 10 times more indirect, relational, and social aggression on television than they are in school. Overall, there was no sex difference in the amount of aggression reported by boys and girls. However, when examining specific items, girls reported more gossiping and boys more hitting. Girls perceived indirect, direct relational, and verbal aggression as more harmful than did boys. Limited evidence was found for a distinction between indirect, relational, and social aggression, although it was clear that they were more similar than different. Aggr. Behav. 32:1–14, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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