Relational aggression in adolescents at School in selected Schools in Lusaka Urban

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Chirwa-Mwanza, Audrey
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School bullying and aggression among children and adolescents have been a source of concern for many researchers globally in the past few decades. Limited research exists regarding relational aggression, largely because research has focused historically on direct verbal and physical aggression, which is more commonly perpetrated by boys. General and Specific Objectives: The main objective was to explore relational aggression in selected schools of Lusaka. Specific objectives included; to explore the prevalence and assess gender differences in relational aggression and assess the relation between relational aggression and the psychological well-being of perpetrators. Methodology: This was a cross-sectional exploratory study. A sample of 170 boys and girls in grades 6 and 8 was recruited from private and government schools. Measures used were a revised Peer Experiences Questionnaire (PEQ) to assess the prevalence of relational aggression. The PEQ subscales were previously tested and found to have high internal consistency, with Cronbach‘s α‘s Victimisation of Self .85 and Victimisation of Others.78 (Vernberg et al., 1999). To measure the psychological well-being, the self-report Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) Youth version was used. The SDQ has demonstrated both good reliability and validity in the Zambian context (Menon, 2014). Chronbach's alphas for the total score approached good internal consistency (d = 0.66). Data Analysis: Software Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to analyse data. Descriptive statistics to measure prevalence rates included mean, frequencies and chi square. Comparison between gender difference was done using the Mann Whitney U-test and Pearson's correlation analysis to explore the relationship of relational aggression and psychological well-being scores of perpetrators. Results: Findings indicated that relational aggression was prevalent in the selected schools with boys reporting 34.9 percent to 67.5 percent involvement and girls reporting from 45.3 percent to 64.3 percent involvement in relational aggression. There was no gender difference in relational aggression. Correlations analyses indicated significant positive relationship between relational aggression and psychological well-being. Relationally aggressive pupils reported difficulties in the peer relationships, conduct and hyperactivity. Conclusion: This study revealed that relational aggression is prevalent in the selected schools despite there being no significant differences between boys and girls. The study also revealed significant relationships between relational aggression and psychological well-being. This statement addresses the current knowledge and recommendations that intervention measures should be put in place to address relational aggression problems in schools.
School children-Discipline , Aggressiveness in Children , Bullying