Empirical Research

Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 37, Issue 6, pp 641-654

First online:

Relational Aggression at School: Associations with School Safety and Social Climate

  • Sara E. GoldsteinAffiliated withDepartment of Family and Child Studies, Montclair State University Email author 
  • , Amy YoungAffiliated withInstitute for Research on Women and Gender, University of Michigan
  • , Carol BoydAffiliated withInstitute for Research on Women and Gender, University of Michigan

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The present study examines how exposure to relational aggression at school is associated with adolescents’ perceptions of, and participation in, a hostile school environment. Participants were 1,335 African American and European American adolescents in grades 7 through 12 (52% female, 49% African American). Results indicate that exposure to relational aggression is associated with several components of adolescents’ perceptions of the school climate. Adolescents exposed to high levels of relational aggression perceived their school to be less safe, and were less pleased with the general social atmosphere at school. Moreover, for males, but not females, exposure to relational aggression was associated with carrying a weapon to school. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed in terms of working toward safer school environments for adolescents.


Aggression School safety Relational aggression