A short-term longitudinal study of growth of relational aggression during middle childhood: Associations with gender, friendship intimacy, and internalizing problems
Trajectories of relational aggression were examined in a large, diverse sample of fourth-grade students. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to examine relational aggression over 1 calendar year. The results indicated that relational aggression increased in a linear fashion for girls over the course of the study. In addition, increases in friend intimate exchange were associated with time-dependent increases in relational aggression among girls only. Relational aggression and internalizing “tracked” together across the course of the study. Overall, the findings suggest relational aggression becomes increasingly common among elementary school girls, and girls' close, dyadic relationships may fuel relationally aggressive behavior in some contexts. Finally, the results indicate that relational aggression trajectories are dynamically associated with maladjustment. a
c1 Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Dianna Murray-Close, Institute of Child Development, 51 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
a This study was funded by grants from NIMH (MH63684) and NSF (BCS-0126521) to N. C. Crick. Preparation of this manuscript was supported by a NIMH Traineeship (MH-15755) to D. Murray-Close and J. M. Ostrov. Portions of this manuscript were presented at the 2004 Biennial Meeting of The Society for Research on Adolescence, Baltimore, MD. We thank Kathleen E. Woods for her assistance and comments on an earlier draft, Dr. Jeff Long for his statistical consultation and assistance with this study, and Peter Ralston and the entire School Buddies Project team for assistance with the collection of this data. Finally, we thank the principals, teachers, parents, and children for their participation.