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Behav. Sci. 2015, 5(4), 518-536; doi:10.3390/bs5040518

Types of Relational Aggression in Girls Are Differentiated by Callous-Unemotional Traits, Peers and Parental Overcontrol

Department of Psychology and Wolfson Research Institute, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
Department of Psychology, University of Cyprus, Nicosia 1678, Cyprus
Department of Psychology, University of Nicosia, Nicosia 1700, Cyprus
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: John Coverdale
Received: 11 September 2015 / Revised: 20 October 2015 / Accepted: 10 November 2015 / Published: 13 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth Aggression and Violence: Causes and Consequences)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [529 KB, uploaded 17 November 2015]   |  


Adolescent girls often perpetrate aggression by gossiping and spreading rumours about others, by attempting to ruin relationships and by manipulating and excluding others. Further, males and females engage in reactive and proactive relational aggression differently. In this study, we examined the individual, peer and parental contextual factors that best explained the use of reactive and proactive relational aggression in girls. Female participants (n = 614; ages 11–18 years) completed questionnaires on aggression, callous-unemotional (CU) traits, delinquency, peer delinquency, gender composition of their peer group, resistance to peer influence and perceived parental overcontrol. Multinomial logistic regression was used to examine the effects of individual, peer- and parent-related variables on the likelihood of being classified as a low aggressor, reactive aggressor or proactive/reactive aggressor. Girls in the combined reactive/proactive aggression group were younger, had greater CU traits, a lower proportion of male peers and greater perception of parental control than both the reactive and low aggressive groups. Both highly aggressive groups were more delinquent and had greater peer delinquency than the low aggressive group. This study suggests those girls who show relational aggression for the purpose of gaining status and revenge feel restrained by their parents and may gravitate toward relationships that support their behaviour. View Full-Text
Keywords: callous-unemotional traits; aggression subtypes; parent-child relationship; peers; females callous-unemotional traits; aggression subtypes; parent-child relationship; peers; females

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Centifanti, L.C.M.; Fanti, K.A.; Thomson, N.D.; Demetriou, V.; Anastassiou-Hadjicharalambous, X. Types of Relational Aggression in Girls Are Differentiated by Callous-Unemotional Traits, Peers and Parental Overcontrol. Behav. Sci. 2015, 5, 518-536.

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