Relational Aggression Among Girls and Boys with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders in a Special School Setting

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The purpose of this study was to determine if two factors, relational aggression (RA) and overt aggression (OA), emerge using the Children's Social Behavior Scale - Self Report (CSBS-S) with students with emotional/behavioral disorders (EBD) in a special school setting; to determine if students with EBD exhibit relation aggression (RA) or overt aggression (OA), as measured by the CSBS-S; and to determine if there was a relationship between these types of aggression and three variables: age, gender and IQ. The classroom teacher administered the CSBS-S to 130 students with EBD, ages seven to twenty years old, in their special school classrooms during the school day. Although RA and OA did not emerge as two distinct factors with this population, two new factors did emerge and were identified as verbal/physical aggression (VPA) and exclusion type aggression (EXA). VPA included all overt, physical and verbal behaviors and EXA included only behaviors in which a target child was excluded from the group. Students with EBD differentiated between all overt physical and verbal aggressive behaviors and exclusionary behaviors. A possible implication of these results is that students with EBD do not differentiate between RA and OA and view all aggression, with the exception of exclusion, as a single type of aggression. Students with EBD did exhibit RA and OA. However the percentage differences between genders was not significant and the means and standard deviations of scores were similar, suggesting that in this setting, with these students, both boys and girls are similarly aggressive. IQ was a significant predictor for RA, OA, and VPA, while age was only a significant predictor for OA. The relationships between IQ and the four types of aggressions was negative which implied that as IQ increased, these three aggressions decreased. Although the CSBS-S was not a valid measure of RA and OA with students with EBD, two new variables were identified, VPA and EXA. It was recommended that further studies include interviews, focus groups and observations in order to better determine how students, especially girls, with EBD differentiate and perceive aggression.