Psychological Self-Help

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aggression in elementary school. This is very important research underscoring
the anger and nature of aggression by young girls. Relational aggression or
victimization involves hurtful social acts, such as peer rejection or isolation,
making fun of, badmouthing, spreading embarrassing rumors, getting peers
to dislike you, etc. Both boys and girls do these things but girls are more
victimized in these ways than boys. Some girls (up to 20%) are reported to
be very adapt with this aggression by the time they are 3 or 4 years of age.
Boys are more physically hurt and threatened. There are psychological
adjustment problems resulting from relational meanness—such as emotional
distress, shame, loneliness, anger and difficulty controlling one’s anger and
impulses. These emotional reactions and self-perceptions often continue to
have an impact on personal and social adjustment several years later.
For instance, a University of Florida study (Noland, 2004) found that siblings
who have had a violent relationship (shoving, punching, insulting and
manipulating) while growing up usually between ages 10 and 14 are more
likely to become violent in dating relationships in college. A little more than
50% of the males and females in their study had punched or hit a sibling with
an object that could hurt. About 75% of the siblings had shoved or pushed a
brother or sister. Apparently fighting with a sibling while growing up sets the
stage for getting physical or even battering their dates in college.
You commonly hear it said “You inherited your quick temper from your
Dad…or your Grandma Smith.” Researchers at several Canadian universities
have studied the genetic vs. the environmental source of one’s physical and
relational aggression. They concluded that genetic factors could explain only
about 20% of social or relational aggression, while 80% is probably due to
environmental influences, such as observing parents and sibling or peer
influence. On the other hand, our genes are thought to determine for more
than half of the individual differences in physical aggression. Some think the
genetic inheritance shows up first in young children who then later learn
social aggression if the social environment (family and peers) supports acting
in those ways. Thus, if one can discourage a child’s physical aggression early,
that may reduce the later development of relational aggression (Contact
Andrea Browning This theory has not been proven.
Studies done mostly by Chicago’s Parent-Child Centers have shown that
school based educational programs with intense parental involvement have
reduced child abuse and neglect at home (52% less mistreatment), lowered
the student’s later record of delinquency, and increased educational
achievements for several years. (Chicago Longitudinal Study at
( In other parts of the country, between
10% and 20% of students report feeling unsafe in their schools. The unsafe
feelings are due to strains between groups of students, bullying, individual
aggressiveness, and the administration’s lack of control.
Craig Field ( recently reported on research
done with US couples and found that black and Hispanic couples were two to
three times more likely than white couples to admit committing physical
violence, both male-to-female and female-to-male abuse. Two factors that
were associated with increased domestic violence are impulsiveness in one or
both partners and alcohol consumption. Another interesting study
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