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Child Dev. 1996 Oct;67(5):2328-38.

Relational aggression, overt aggression, and friendship.

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Human Development and Family Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana 61801, USA.


This study (n = 315 9-12-year-olds) was conducted to assess whether the social problems that relationally and overtly aggressive children typically experience in the peer group context are also exhibited in the dyadic, friendship context. The qualities of children's friendships (e.g., levels of intimacy) and of the importance of those qualities (e.g., the importance of intimacy) were assessed with self-report instruments adapted from past research. Results indicated that the friendships of relationally aggressive children were characterized by relatively high levels of intimacy, exclusivity/jealousy, and relational aggression within the friendship context. In contrast, the friendships of overtly aggressive children were characterized by engaging together in aggressive acts toward those outside the friendship. In addition, overtly aggressive children placed relatively high importance on these coalitional acts and on companionship with their friends. Implications for our understanding of aggressive children and for our knowledge of children's friendships are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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