Child and parent perceptions of relational aggression within urban predominantly African American children's friendships: Examining patterns of concordance

Tracy Evian Waasdorp, Catherine P. Bradshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Increasing research documents the negative short- and long-term effects of relational aggression on children's behavior and social-emotional functioning. Although parents likely play an important role in the way children learn to cope with and attempt to resolve relational aggression, there is little research on this issue. The present study explored children and parents' beliefs concerning relational aggression and the children's use of coping strategies when experiencing relational aggression in close friendships. Fifty-four low-income, urban, predominantly African American children and a parent/guardian participated in the current study. Findings suggest that the children and their parents were largely discordant in their perceptions of relational aggression and the way the children cope with being a victim of relational aggression. Although the vast majority of parents perceived that their children would come to them for support when experiencing relational aggression, the girls were most likely to report going to teachers, whereas boys were most likely to go to another adult. These results enhance our understanding of how parents and children view relationally aggressive behaviors and may inform the development of strategies to help children cope with relational aggression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)731-745
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Volume18
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2009

Keywords

  • African American
  • Coping
  • Gender differences
  • Parent/child relationships
  • Relational aggression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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