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Relational aggression is the use of exclusionary and/or other nonphysical behaviors to undermine another person’s self-esteem or group status.
Relational aggression involves the intent to harm another person through nonphysical injury to or manipulation of relationships. Relationally aggressive behaviors can be covert (i.e., spreading rumors, gossiping, ignoring, excluding) or overt (e.g., directly telling a peer, “If you don’t do what I say, I won’t be your friend”). Similarly, relational aggression can be reactive in that it occurs in response to feeling angry or threatened, or it can serve an instrumental purpose in getting what one wants.
Both males and females engage in relational aggression. While it is a commonly held belief that females exhibit higher levels of relational aggression than males, research addressing gender differences in prevalence rates has yielded...
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