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Keywords:

  • relational aggression;
  • indirect aggression;
  • sex differences;
  • perceptions;
  • adolescence

Abstract

Different types of aggressive behavior (both physical and relational) by boys and girls have been shown to be perceived differently by observers. However, most research has focused on adult perceptions of very young children, with little research examining other ages. The aim of this study is to establish any sex differences in adolescent perceptions of indirect forms of relational aggression enacted by boys and girls. One hundred and sixty adolescents were shown one of the two videos involving relational aggression and completed a questionnaire that assessed their perceptions of the aggression. The videos were identical except for the sex of the aggressor and the victim; one condition portrayed boy-to-boy aggression, the other showed girl-to-girl aggression. Results indicated that participants viewed boy-to-boy relational aggression as more justified. This study revealed that stereotypes about aggressive boys are perpetuated even when the aggression is a type that is not commonly associated with boys. Aggr. Behav. 34:577–583, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.