Studies Take Aim at Playground Gossip
More and More Studies are Focusing on 'Relational Aggression' in Schools
Gossip and social ostracization may come far down on the list of concerns for educators trying to prevent bullying, yet emerging research suggests relational bullying, though often the most frequently overlooked, may hold the key to changing an aggressive culture in schools.
Of the three major types of bullying—physical, verbal and relational—relational aggression, has been the latest and least studied, both because it involves less visible, immediately dangerous behavior than fighting or verbal abuse, and in part because it involved more nuanced relationships among the bullies, victims, and bystanders.
“If you think of Columbine and other school shootings, the shooters were often victims of relational aggression, so there’s a growing recognition that emotional scars are real, and we need to create interventions to address those scars and prevent them from happening,” said Stephen S. Leff, a psychologist and director of the Friend to Friend and Preventing Relational Aggression in Schools Everyday (PRAISE) programs at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and a co-editor of a current special issue of School Psychology Review ...
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