Adolescent Aggression: An Indirect Link between Parenting and Aggression




Shear, Maximillian L.

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Research points to peer victimization as a considerable source of distress during adolescence. Much of the empirical attention placed on peer victimization focuses on risk factors for youth becoming the target of aggression. Included in these risk factors is the manner in which parents interact with their adolescent children. Although the association between parenting and peer victimization is an important one, the nature of the associations between teens’ interactions with their parents and the manner in which they are treated by peers has been largely unaddressed. Using age 15 data of the NICHD SECCYD study, the current study aimed to explore potential mechanisms that mediate the relationship between parenting and peer victimization in adolescence. Specifically, it was hypothesized that adolescents’ aggressive behavior would account for the association between parenting and teens’ experiences with peer victimization. Results indicate that adolescents’ relational aggression mediated the indirect relationship between maternal hostile parenting and higher levels of adolescent self-reports of peer victimization. This mediated effect was particularly strong among boys, for whom relationally aggressive behavior appears to be a particularly notable risk factor for peer victimization. Implications for future research and school and home interventions are discussed.



Bullying, Victimization, Aggression, Parenting, Adolescence