Move over mean girls, looks like it’s actually the boys who are bringing the mean to the schoolyard, new research suggests.
Researchers conducted a study including both boys and girls, from middle to high school, and found that boys use ‘relational aggression’ more compared to girls, according the study by the University of Georgia and published in the journal Aggressive Behavior.
The research involved 620 students who took annual surveys from grade six all the way through to grade 12. The students were asked questions including how often in the previous 30 days they had done things like, not letting another student be in the group, telling students you would not like them unless they did what you want, keeping others from liking another student by saying mean things about them as well as if they had spread a false rumor about someone. The students were also asked how often they had been a victim of these types of relational aggression acts.
A computer program sorted the students into three groups (low, medium, and high relational aggression) based on similar behavior patterns. The groups were sorted based on how many times the students had reported being mean and the patterns of their mean behavior.
The data from the study showed that at each grade level, mean scores for acting out aggression were higher for boys than girls, and mean scores of victimization were higher for girls than boys. The group with the highest relational aggression, or the meanest kids, was a majority of boys at 67 percent and 33 percent were girls.
Sources: Aggressive Behavior