Relational Aggression and Academic Performance in Elementary School


  • Note. This study was conducted by the NICHD Early Child Care Research Network supported by the NICHD through a cooperative agreement calling for scientific collaboration between the grantees and the NICHD staff.

Correspondence to: Scott Risser, Montana Tech of the University of Montana, 1300 W. Park Street, Butte, MT 59701. E-mail:


To investigate the relationship between relational aggression and school performance, this study examined the relative and combined associations among relational aggression, overt aggression, and victimization and children's academic performance. Additionally this study examined the relative associations among relational and overt aggression and verbal and performance IQ. Participants in this study were a subset of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. The study included 1,067 children (50% male) assessed during fourth and fifth grade. Results indicated that for girls, relational aggression was negatively associated with school performance, while statistically controlling for both victimization and overt aggression. For boys, overt aggression was negatively related with school performance. Additional results indicated that for both girls and boys, victimization was negatively associated with school performance.