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The Effects of a Drama-Based Intervention on Relational Aggression in Middle School Students Dani DeVincentis Hanover College.

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Presentation on theme: "The Effects of a Drama-Based Intervention on Relational Aggression in Middle School Students Dani DeVincentis Hanover College."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Effects of a Drama-Based Intervention on Relational Aggression in Middle School Students Dani DeVincentis Hanover College

2 Relational Aggression (RA)

3 Involves harming others through purposeful manipulation of or damage to peer relationships (Coyne, Archer, & Eslea, 2006)

4 Relational Aggression (RA) Involves harming others through purposeful manipulation of or damage to peer relationships (Coyne, Archer, & Eslea, 2006) Examples include exclusion, "the silent treatment," spreading rumors or lies with intent of damaging a peer's reputation or popularity status, gossip (Gomes, 2007)

5 Relational Aggression (RA) Involves harming others through purposeful manipulation of or damage to peer relationships (Coyne, Archer, & Eslea, 2006) Examples include exclusion, "the silent treatment," spreading rumors or lies with intent of damaging a peer's reputation or popularity status, gossip (Gomes, 2007) More common in girls than in boys (Crick & Grotpeter, 1995)

6 Effects of Relational Aggression

7 In victims, RA is positively correlated with withdrawn behavior, victimization, rejection (Tan, 2009)

8 Effects of Relational Aggression In victims, RA is positively correlated with withdrawn behavior, victimization, rejection (Tan, 2009) Among year old RA victims, one third of participants reported feeling panicky or nervous in school, experiencing recurring memories of bullying incidents, and impaired concentration in school (Sharp, 1995)

9 Effects of Relational Aggression In victims, RA is positively correlated with withdrawn behavior, victimization, rejection (Tan, 2009) Among year old RA victims, one third of participants reported feeling panicky or nervous in school, experiencing recurring memories of bullying incidents, and impaired concentration in school (Sharp, 1995) Being bullied is positively associated with increased risk of frequent absences and discipline problems at school (Gastic, 2008)

10 Interventions for Relational Aggression

11 Ostrov, Massetti, Stauffacher, Godleski, Hart, Karch, et al. (2009): Utilized a puppet show and participatory sessions with pre-school students to reduce RA

12 Interventions for Relational Aggression Ostrov, Massetti, Stauffacher, Godleski, Hart, Karch, et al. (2009): Utilized a puppet show and participatory sessions with pre-school students to reduce RA Feschbach & Feschbach (1982): empathy training in elementary school age students increased positive social behaviors in both aggressive and nonaggressive students

13 Interventions for Relational Aggression Ostrov, Massetti, Stauffacher, Godleski, Hart, Karch, et al. (2009): Utilized a puppet show and participatory sessions with pre-school students to reduce RA Feschbach & Feschbach (1982): empathy training in elementary school age students increased positive social behaviors in both aggressive and nonaggressive students Richardson, Hammock, Smith, & Gardner (1994): found empathy to be associated with constructive and nonaggressive responses to conflict among college students

14 Hypothesis If students are presented with a participatory skit depicting instances of relational aggression designed to humanize and increase empathy for the victim, they will then engage in fewer relationally aggressive acts

15 Methods One class from each the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade from Southwestern Middle School participated A control group consisting of one sixth, seventh, and eighth grade class also participated Participants (n= 86) were 59% female and 41% male, primarily white, with an average age of 12.8 Nine participants were removed due to absences Participants already take part in Olweus Bullying Prevention Program through their school Participants

16 Methods Young Adult Social Behavior Scale (YASB) o When I am frustrated with my friend, I give that person the silent treatment. o I deal with conflicts with my friends in an honest, straightforward manner. o When I do not like someone, it makes me happy when a friend listens to and agrees with what I think about that person. Standard demographic questionnaire Researcher-written skit depicting three scenes of RA Materials

17 Methods Informed consent forms were signed by parents and students Students were coded alphabetically by grade and by class roster by teachers; the researcher remained blind to any identifying information Procedure: Prior to Data Collection

18 Methods Friday, 29 January: YASB Pre-Test Friday, 5 February: Skit Tuesday, 21 February: YASB Post-Test, Demographic form, Debriefing Procedure: Timeline of Data Collection

19 Performance Behaviors depicted in the skit included: Stealing a rival's friend Rumor spreading Revenge-seeking Ganging up on a single victim Using intimate knowledge to manipulate and embarrass publicly Following the skit, students were encouraged to interact with the performers, provide feedback on characters' actions, and discuss their own experiences

20 Overall Pre and Post Test Performance Significant main effect of gender, p=.008.

21 Pre and Post Test Performance by Gender No significance for females, p=.957 Significant effect for males, p=.016.

22 Males and Females, Experimental Group, Pre and Post Test

23 Discussion Limitations Small sample size (n=86 in total, significantly less once condition and classes are taken into account) Two week delay in post-test data collection due to weather Very low pre-test RA value (m=2.11), perhaps attributable to anti-bullying curriculum already in place

24 Discussion Girls' relationships are driven largely by a need for belonging and inclusion (Newman, 2003) This drive may supersede their natural feelings of empathy and lead them to ignore interventions that emphasize elements such as empathy As such, their involvement in RA may be controlled primarily by their need for belonging Identifying with an aggressor and becoming an aggressor is a safer bet for inclusion and belonging than standing up for a victim and practicing less aggressive behavior

25 Discussion Boys have less of a drive for inclusion and belonging (Newman, 2003) This may allow for them to be more affected by interventions that emphasize elements such as empathy Therefore their relational aggression may decrease when they empathize with the victim, without fear of losing their status within a group or clique of friends

26 Discussion Future Directions Relational aggression in boys: factors that cause and reduce the behavior Drama-based interventions as behavior modification tool Association between girls' need for belonging and involvement in RA

27 Special thanks to: Students and teachers of Southwestern Middle School Mrs. Bottomley, guidance counselor Mr. Jones, principal


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