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29-09-2015 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 2/2016

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 2/2016

Relational Aggression, Victimization and Self-Concept: Testing Pathways from Middle Childhood to Adolescence

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 2/2016
Auteurs:
Sarah J. Blakely-McClure, Jamie M. Ostrov

Abstract

When studying adolescent development, it is important to consider two key areas that are salient for teens, which are self-concept and peer relations. A secondary analysis of the National Institute of Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development was conducted to examine the prospective bidirectional associations between self-concept and peer relations. To date, how social development broadly and peer relations in particular (e.g., relational aggression and victimization) affect self-concept domains is not fully understood. Using a large sample (N = 1063; 532 girls; M = 11.14 years; SD = .59) with multiple informants, the present study examined whether fifth grade relational aggression and sixth grade relational victimization was associated with adolescent self-concept in three key domains (i.e., academic, sports, physical appearance). A significant direct effect emerged, such that relational aggression in middle childhood was associated with decreases in academic self-concept and increases in sports self-concept in adolescence. Analyses also revealed that having higher levels of domain specific self-concept led to decreases in relational aggression across the transition to adolescence. The findings highlight the importance of examining bidirectional prospective associations between relational aggression, relational victimization, and domain specific self-concept. Implications for future research and clinical intervention are discussed.

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