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Verbal Abuse May Prompt Weapon Bearing

Experts report behavior that intentionally harms another individual, such as being bullied, can significantly affect adolescent psychosocial development and mental health.

The research discussing the potential effects of manipulation of social relationships (or ‘relational aggression’) is found in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

The study shows that adolescents exposed to high levels of relational aggression perceive their school to be less safe, and are less pleased with the general social atmosphere of the school. Adolescent boys who are exposed to relational aggression are also more likely to carry a weapon to school. This is not the case for girls.

A total of 1,335 African American and European American adolescents, aged 11 – 19 years, from a public school district in Detroit, Michigan, took part in an Internet survey which looked at how relational aggression at school is associated with adolescents’ perceptions of, and participation in, a hostile school environment.

Respondents were asked about their direct experience of being victims of both relational aggression (e.g. How often in the last month have students told stories about you that were untrue? How often in the previous month did students not include you in joining in what they were doing?), and overt aggression. Respondents were also asked about their experience of witnessing both relational and overt aggression.

Most of the research to date looking at aggression in schools has focused on physically and verbally harmful behaviors, such as hitting, pushing, and name calling.

This study looks at how other forms of aggression that target victims’ relationships and peer standing can lead to school-related problems. Contrary to other work in this field, it also looks at the effect of witnessing relational aggression, rather than simply focusing on victims.

There is already strong evidence to link relational aggression with social anxiety, loneliness and depression, peer difficulties and substance use.

The authors conclude that the impact of school aggression is such that it calls for “creative means to (a) detect relational aggression, and (b) address it in a manner that respects adolescents’ need for autonomy over their peer relationships but also discourages relationally aggressive behavior.”

Source: Springer

Verbal Abuse May Prompt Weapon Bearing

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Verbal Abuse May Prompt Weapon Bearing. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 24, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2007/05/24/verbal-abuse-may-prompt-weapon-bearing/850.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.