Understanding girls who bully: a study of female aggression in adolescence

The purpose of this study was to explore further the phenomenon of relational aggression to better understand factors that are associated with and might contribute to female adolescent aggressive (bullying) behavior. Specifically, this study developed a demographic profile of girls who participate in aggressive behavior. This quantitative, descriptive study was a secondary analysis of data that were collected in the Health Behavior in School-Aged Children (HBSC) survey conducted in the United States during the 2005-2006 school years. The data for this study were obtained from the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) database, the world’s largest collection of digital social data. This study looked at the variables used to collect data about bullying behavior and what variable may attribute to that aggression. This study was further filtered to look at bullying behavior amongst females. The sample consisted of 4742 females who were nearly evenly distributed among grades 6th through 10th. Analysis of the data provided five major findings. The five major findings were used to develop a profile for girls who bully others. Female aggression in girls tends to build from 6th grade to a spike at 8th grade. Middle school aged girls who bully tend to have a lower satisfaction with their life and also with their family relationships. Girls who bully also tend to experience school related stress and alienation, as well as being more likely to be substance users. The findings of this research suggest the need for more awareness and education about female aggression and the need for bullying prevention programs that are better defined and address the gender specific needs of girls.