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Adolescents’ Disclosure and Secrecy About Peer Behavior: Links with Cyber Aggression, Relational Aggression, and Overt Aggression

Abstract

The current study examines links between parent–adolescent relationship characteristics, friendship risk, and adolescent aggressive behavior. Adolescents (N = 110; M age = 17.05 years) were surveyed about their aggressive behavior (including cyber, relational, and overt) and the extent to which they disclosed aspects about their social lives (online and offline) to their parents. Participants also reported on the extent to which they hid or concealed components of their online and offline social lives from their parents, and about their exposure to a risky friendship context. Results indicate that high amounts of adolescent secrecy coupled with either (1) cyber aggressive friends, or (2) high levels of unsupervised socializing, increases adolescents’ risk for cyber aggression. Interactions between the parenting and peer contexts were also found with regard to relationally aggressive behavior. Implications of these results are discussed in the context of the parent–adolescent relationship.

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Acknowledgments

The study described in this manuscript was fully approved by the Institutional Review Board at Montclair State University.

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Correspondence to Sara E. Goldstein.

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All IRB procedures were followed and full approval was obtained. No animals were used in this research.

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Written informed consent (for parents and teens over 18) and assent procedures (for teens 17 and younger) was obtained.

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Goldstein, S.E. Adolescents’ Disclosure and Secrecy About Peer Behavior: Links with Cyber Aggression, Relational Aggression, and Overt Aggression. J Child Fam Stud 25, 1430–1440 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-015-0340-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-015-0340-2

Keywords

  • Cyber aggression
  • Parent–adolescent information sharing
  • Adolescent development