Overt and relational aggression in adolescents: social-psychological adjustment of aggressors and victims

J Clin Child Psychol. 2001 Dec;30(4):479-91. doi: 10.1207/S15374424JCCP3004_05.


Examined the relative and combined associations among relational and overt forms of aggression and victimization and adolescents' concurrent depression symptoms, loneliness, self-esteem, and externalizing behavior. An ethnically diverse sample of 566 adolescents (55% girls) in Grades 9 to 12 participated. Results replicated prior work on relational aggression and victimization as distinct forms of peer behavior that are uniquely associated with concurrent social-psychological adjustment. Victimization was associated most closely with internalizing symptoms, and peer aggression was related to symptoms of disruptive behavior disorder. Findings also supported the hypothesis that victims of multiple forms of aggression are at greater risk for adjustment difficulties than victims of one or no form of aggression. Social support from close friends appeared to buffer the effects of victimization on adjustment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Crime Victims / psychology*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Loneliness
  • Male
  • New England
  • Peer Group*
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Schools
  • Self Concept
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires