Girls’ relational aggression in new zealand secondary school classrooms, angela page
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  • 1. Title: Relational Aggression – Girls’ relational aggression in Secondary School classrooms.
  • 2. Intent: Relational aggression was a term first used in 1995 by Crick and Grotpeter (1995) to describe “behaviours that are intended to harm someone by damaging or manipulating relationships or feelings of acceptance, friendship or group inclusion”. Focus on intention of the behaviour.
  • 3. Relational Aggression, Social, Gendered, Bullying:Happens with both boys and girls – suggested that it happens in transition time between primary and secondary school when relationships are re-forming(Cross, et al., 2009).But boys use relational aggression to exclude others less masculine, girls to manipulate best friend status or feelings of inclusion in close friendships. The significant difference = Girls also perceive relational aggression to be far more harmful than boys. Why? Girls relationships are central to their feelings of self-worth (Pronk & Zimmer-Gembeck, 2010).
  • 4. What does it look like? BeingIgnored most harmful behaviour according to girls.Attacks to sexual reputation falls underneath spreading rumours umbrella. She’s a slut, she slept with...she’s a slag.(Cross et al, 2009) Behaviour most likely to occur in class is note passing.
  • 5. Why? As a teacher, we can’t do much about what goes on in the school grounds, but we can do something in our classes, when problems continue there. We can keep girls safe in class, and learning. (Second slide in here)Kuppens et al (2008), and Jennings and Greenberg (2009) explored the relationship between teacher norms in the classroom and relational aggression, and they showed that the teacher’s behaviours directly affect whether the student engages in aggressive acts.
  • 6. What is going on?Specifically, a summary of the motivators given by girls included motivators such as power and dominance and wanting to fit in; Aggressors’ = jealously, feeling bored or angry and picked on victims because they lacked social appeal and because they were more emotional.
  • 7. Triangle: Common to many theories in describing the relationship dynamics. In and out status. Crick and Grotpeter, say aggression is within friendship groups, to keep the hierarchy in check (or the members of the group in line), others such as Wiseman, (2002)say it happens between groups, to keep their high status.For later: (Go back a slide) In line with the hierarchy notion, Leader, follower, wannabe first coined by Adler and Adler (1995), later used by Wiseman (2002) in the book Queen Bees and Wannabees.
  • 8. Three Theories to explain relational aggression1. Socio-cultural/dominance theory: Relational aggression may occur as a motive to achieve peer status or power. Pronk and Zimmer-Gembeck (2010): adolescents used relational aggression as a strategy to influence their social world and achieve dominance to form a group hierarchy. (Go back a slide) In line with the hierarchy, Leader, follower, wannabe first coined by Adler and Adler (1995), later used by Wiseman (2002).Simmons (2002) argues that dominant patriarchal culture has taught girls to mask overt aggression in favour of more covert ways and girls are taught to be “nice and not nasty.”
  • 9. Sugar and Spice and Not Always Nice: This perspective also builds on feminist theory: Girls in the last feminist wave have been taught that they can have equality, BUT feminism might have failed them, they use sexuality for power, They have gone underground (whisper/hand) with their aggression because it is more feminine and acceptable. No-one notices.
  • 10b. Developmental TheoryDevelopmental theory looks at social status. Peer relationships are crucial and attempts to hurt a friendship or social reputation becomes increasingly significant. Relational aggression may be used, therefore, as a way of fitting in (Crothers, et al., 2007; Yoon, Barton, & Taiariol, 2004) 10c. Social Cognitive TheorySocial cognitive theory suggests that socially aggressive behaviour will be positively rewarded with increased popularity, power and/or feelings of satisfaction. It is thought that socially cognitively strong adolescents use relational aggression because they can use their skills to manipulate easily (Bandura, 2002; Goldstein & Tisak, 2004).
  • 11. Who is this girl? High status aggressor is socially competent, socially intelligent and possesses strong cognitive abilities. She will adopt a more feminine role. She will be popular not because she is nice, but because she is cool (Hoff, Reece-Weber, Schneider, & Stagg, 2009). She is liked by her friends but disliked her peers. She may be a well-adapted Machiavellian (Hawley, Little, & Card, 2007). She is manipulative. She might have ‘stuff’ and that makes her popular. She lacks empathy. But also, it is also recognised that the aggressor may be a girl who matches the traits of a gang member (a clique with a deviant intention – Besag, 2006): aggression is best carried out in front of an audience, rather than covert. This girl has not fitted in, she has rejected the school learning culture and is not doing well, but lots of social intelligence/street wise, still traits in common though (Besag, 2006). See as continuum. Girl friendships going wrong in middle of continuum.Conversely the victim lacks social skills and social competence. Or she was the aggressor and her friends have turned on her (Simmons, 2002).
  • 12. Show slide pictures: here are some of those victims - note whispering behind hand. Again see as continuum.
  • 13. What to do? Needs of victim in particularWhat are the differences between teachers and students: literature says they tend to view things differently. E.g., some teachers don’t think it happens(James, et al., 2008) and minimise the necessity to get involved.Conversely, students want teachers to get involved but don’t always trust that anything can be done to help.
  • 14. What actions are taken by teachers?If aggressive acts do occur however, students and teachers appear to hold different views on the best methods to intervene. Carroll-Lind (2009) found that when students were asked to suggest strategies to address bullying behaviours in general, they offered strategies relevant to themselves (preventative, punitive and restorative strategies), whereas teachers spoke of educational programmes and practices.
  • 15. What actions 2: So, my study attempts to bring together student and teacher responses to relational aggression in order to maximise the likelihood of a positive outcome.
  • 16. Method: Participants were a convenience sample of n = 282 female students in Years 9 and Year 10 from four co-educational secondary schools in New Zealand. They ranged in age from 12 to 15 years, with a median age of 13 years. Ethnicity was self-reported as NZ European (n = 213), Mäori (n = 40), Pacific Islander (n = 6), Asian (n = 3), Mixed Ethnicity (n = 6), and Other (n = 14). MaterialsA brief demographic questionnaire;Vignettesabout relationships with accompanying questions (Basow, Cahill, Phelan, Longshore, & McGillicuddy-DeLisi, 2007), modified with the authors’ permission;The Personal Experience Questionnaire (PEQ; (Basow, et al., 2007)), modified with the authors’ permission; and,15 students, 15 teachers: Semi-structured interview questions.
  • 17. Method example: vignette
  • 18. Relational aggression is more ok than physical aggressionRelational aggression is more distressing than physical aggression.
  • 19. Year 9 students were more tolerant of the physical aggression than the Year 10 students (it is less aggressive than a Year 10 would think it was, and less hurtful)
  • 20. Results: QuestionnairesThere were statistically significant differences between students attributing acts of relational aggression to others, in comparison to themselves. Average taken of the times girls considered that girls aggressed against them versus average number of times girls aggressed against friends.Two thirds of girls say that others are aggressive to them, whereas one third admit to being the aggressor.
  • 21. Results: QuestionnairesHow many times have you experienced relational aggression from friends, and how many times did you act in relationally aggressive ways towards your friends in the last year?96.5% of girls said that they had aggressed against their friends at least once in the past year.Over 99% of girls said that someone had aggressed against them at least once in the past year.
  • 22. Results: Interviews Some of the things that happen in class: texting, passing messages, calling out, whispering, spreading rumours (mostly attacks on sexual reputation), blocking others out of group-work, pushing, throwing things, giving looks, laughing with friend at another. Girls felt safe against cyberbullying at school because of the mechanisms schools have put into place.Unlike Cross et al (2009), this study seems to have found shouting put-downs across class as the most common relationally aggressive behaviour in class. Text bullying a point of difference between students and teachers, some teachers don’t see it as school problem; some students think schools should keep them safe, even if it starts outside of school (either parent relationships have broken down, or students see teachers as keeping them safe/different relationship than parent). Text messages not checked by teachers, notes usually are, so intent of texting is unknown.
  • 23. Results: InterviewsStudents want teachers to do something in class, not ignore it, teachers strong tendency to do something so that students see good role modelling, ensure others safety, address the behaviour so that it does not escalate, Restorative justice seems to work well and is accepted by students and teachers alike, Good relationships are a key with both teachers and students when asked what works to reduce relational aggression in class, Good relationships at home indicate whether or not a student will tell their parents, or want the school to get involved, as a stand-in parent sometimes, Some girls think that telling a teacher is narking, and others tell to support each other, it seemed to depend on the school climate and the student relationship with the teacher. Teachers had to be seen to be doing something about it if students told. Some victims felt that nothing could be done and would not tell anyone. They felt that it was something they had to sort out themselves. They acknowledged that this was affecting their school work, and school attendance. Very few of the girls interviewed stated that they behaved as aggressors, and when they did, stated that all girls did this and it was just a joke, or that it was nothing serious. One girl out of 15 stated that she inflicted harm on another. Supports questionnaire findings.What seems to work overall: Teachers knowing that girls are different to boys and they need time to talk it out in friendship groups with supervision (outside class), and extra vigilance, plus scaffolded support for girls who are outside friendship groups. Seating plans! (inside class).
  • 24. Last Word:It is critical that we understand how adolescents view relational aggressionat this important time in their development. As psychologists we need to ensure that we understand the young people that we work with and help them develop appropriate strategies for healthy relationships with others.The importance of this is that sometimes the behaviours that have been formed in adolescence become life-long persistent behaviours (1st quote) and we need challenge how girls and then women relate to each other if we are to develop a better way for the future (other quote on top of the first one).

Girls’ relational aggression in new zealand secondary school classrooms, angela page Girls’ relational aggression in new zealand secondary school classrooms, angela page Document Transcript

  • Relational Aggression
    Girls’ Relational Aggression in New Zealand Secondary School Classrooms
  • Intent
    Crick and Grotpeter (1995)
    Relational Aggression
  • Relational Aggression
  • Hostile body language (rolling eyes, smirking)
    Spreading rumours
    Attacks on sexual reputation
    Socially isolating
    Making fun of another's appearance
    Bumping into someone on purpose
    Ignoring, excluding
    The Silent Treatment
    Relational Aggression
  • Why?
    Teachers have a direct impact on their classes
    Kuppens, Grietens, Onghena, Michiels, & Subramanian (2008)
    Jennings and Greenberg (2009)
    Relational Aggression
  • What is going on?
    Relational Aggression
  • Victim
    Adler and Adler (1995)
    Crick and Grotpeter (1995)
    Relational Aggression
  • Three key theories of the current thesis
    1. Socio-cultural theory/
    Social Dominance Theory
    Adler and Adler (1995)
    Wiseman (2002)
    Pronk and Zimmer-Gembeck (2010)
    Relational Aggression
  • “Sugar and Spice
    But Not Always Nice”
    Letendre (2007)
    Relational Aggression
  • 1. Socio-cultural theory/
    Social Dominance Theory
    2. Developmental Theory
    Crothers (2007)
    Yoon (2004)
    Crick and Grotpeter (1995)
    3. Social Cognitive Theory
    Bandura (2002)
    Goldstein and Tisak, 2004)
  • And who is this girl?
    Relational Aggressor Scale
    High status
    Queen Bee
    Highly feminine
    Gang Girl
    More overt
    Less “feminine”
    Outside of mainstream culture
    Socially competent
    No empathy
    Status in group
    Relational Aggression
  • Queen Bee
    Low self-esteem/
    Low confidence
    Relational Aggression
  • What are the differences in teacher perceptions of relational aggression in the classroom compared to student perceptions?
    No point in telling anyone...
    Girls will be girls...
    Is she going to do anything?
    Not in my classroom...
    Relational Aggression
  • What actions taken by teachers effectively address
    relational aggression in the classroom?
    Relational Aggression
  • What actions taken by teachers effectively address
    relational aggression in the classroom?
    And students agree with?
    Relational Aggression
  • Method
    Relational Aggression
  • Method
    Te Aroha and Joanne were good friends and had been in the same netball team for two years at school. On her way into class, Te Aroha bumped into Joanne who was...................Te Aroha spread a rumour that Joanne had cheated on her......
    How ok?
    How aggressive?
    How hurtful?
    How upset?
    How distressed?
    Basow, Cahill, Phelan, Longshore, &
    McGillicuddy-DeLisi (2007)
    Relational Aggression
  • Results: Vignettes
    Relational aggression was more “ok”
    than physical aggression
    Relational aggression was more “distressing” than physical aggression.
    Relational Aggression
  • Results: Vignettes
    Year 9 students were more tolerant of the physical aggression vignettes
    than the Year 10 students
    Physical aggression vignettes were perceived by Year 9’s to be less “aggressive” and less “hurtful” than Year 10’s perceive.
  • Results: Self and Others Questionnaire
    There were significant differences between students attributing acts of relational aggression to others, in comparison to themselves.
    Relational Aggression
  • Results: Self and Others Questionnaire
    How many girls are affected overall?
    96.5% Self
    Over 99% Others
    Relational Aggression
  • Results: Interviews
    In class: texting, passing messages, calling out, whispering, spreading rumours (mostly attacks on sexual reputation), blocking others out of group-work, pushing, throwing things, giving looks, laughing with friend at another.
    Text bullying perceived differently by students and teachers.
    Girls felt safe against cyber bullying at school.
  • Results: Interviews
    Students don’t think teachers see much of it, but when they do, want teachers to do something about it, Teachers agree!
    Restorative Justice/Chat beneficial
    Good relationships a key, teachers sometimes need to recognise that they are stand-in parents
    Extra vigilance required to support victim and halt behaviours of aggressor can help to break down cycle.
  • The Last Word
    Boys will be boys. And even that wouldn't matter if only we could prevent girls from being girls. 
    Anne Frank 
    "The two women exchanged the kind of glance women use when no knife is handy." Ellery Queen
    Relational Aggression