• "What can We do to Stop it?" Indirect Aggression among Teenage Girls and Interventions to Address It   [CPSH 2013]
  • Author(s)
  • Larry Owens
  • Indirect aggression is the preferred way that teenage girls endeavor to hurt or harm each other. It involves being aggressive in covert ways including spreading false rumors and excluding peers from the group in order to damage relationships. Because of its indirectness and its relational nature, the more traditional top- down forms of intervention may not be successful. In this paper it is advocated that interventions to redress indirect aggression ought to utilize the same skills that girls use to perpetrate this form of hostility. This would mean using humanistic approaches involving trust and respect for the language and social skills of the girls and utilizing these strengths to develop solutions. As evidence for the efficacy of this approach, three studies are summarized. In the first study, focus groups of teenage girls (n = 55) discussed the limitations of the attempts by teachers to intervene in their peer conflicts. In the second study, narrative therapy was used to assist a teenage girl to externalize her peer problems, enabling her to develop constructive strategies to assist her social development. In the third study, a collaborative set of conversations was undertaken with a group of 75 14-to-15 year old girls whose everyday lives were dominated by conflicts. A cyclical action-research process informed by narrative theory enabled the girls to arrive at a set of agreed strategies to better manage their social relationships. In summary, to resolve girls’ indirect aggression, respectful humanistic processes that involve the girls in problem solving to arrive at solutions are likely to be more successful than more traditional hierarchical approaches to intervention.
  • Indirect Aggression; Teenage Girls; Interventions
  • References
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