The primary aim of the present study was to examine girls’ cognitions of their relationally aggressive peers as a function of their own relationally aggressive and sociometric status. Participants were 151 4th- and 5th-grade girls attending four public elementary schools. Findings suggest that relationally aggressive girls tend to display a relatively cautious and wary social cognitive style in relationally provocative social situations. For example, they view relationally aggressive behaviors as being relatively stable and unchanging, and they exhibit little trust for peers who exhibit a similar behavioral style. Results suggest that rejected girls may exhibit markedly different social processing styles depending upon whether they are also relationally aggressive themselves. For instance, rejected-relational aggressors appear to interpret others’ negative behaviors as being quite intentional. In contrast, rejected-nonrelational aggressors demonstrate relatively high levels of trust for peers who treat them poorly while also interpreting these peers’ behaviors as being relatively unintentional. Implications for designing multilevel interventions to combat relational aggressive problems are discussed.
Leff, Stephen S.; Kupersmidt, Janis B.; and Power, Thomas J.
"An Initial Examination of Girls’ Cognitions
of Their Relationally Aggressive Peers as a
Function of Their Own Social Standing,"
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Vol. 49:
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/mpq/vol49/iss1/3