Early Adolescents' Conceptions of Parental and Friend Authority Over Relational Aggression

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Review Article

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The purpose of the present research is to compare early adolescents' beliefs about parental and friend jurisdiction over relational aggression to their beliefs about parental and friend jurisdiction over physical aggression and personal behaviors. One hundred three adolescents (̄X age = 12 years, 11 months; SD = 12.46 months) are individually interviewed and asked to evaluate the acceptability of parents and friends negating their physically aggressive behaviors (e.g., hitting), relationally aggressive behaviors (e.g., gossiping), and personally aggressive behaviors (e.g., changing hairstyles). They are also asked to justify their responses. Results highlight the complexity in adolescents' thinking about these issues. For example, adolescents believe that parental jurisdiction is more acceptable over physical aggression as compared to relational aggression. However, adolescents do not make this distinction with regard to friend jurisdiction. When justifying their responses for relational aggression, adolescents cite social conventions, personal choice, and relationship maintenance reasons.



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