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Honors Thesis Archive

Author Kari Phelan
Title A Typology of Retaliation Strategies Against Social Aggression Among Adolescent Girls
Department Communication & Psychology
Advisors Cathy Waggoner, Kathleen Warber, and Jo Wilson
Year 2008
Honors University Honors
Full Text View Thesis (571 KB) Note: This is a very large file; it may be easier to download the file to your computer and open it from there.
Abstract The objective of this study was twofold (1) to examine which socially aggressive topics were most provocative and (2) to develop a typology for retaliation against social aggression. These concepts were analyzed through qualitative interviews with a sample 15 girls, ages 10-16. The following socially aggressive topic themes were categorized in terms of frequency (from most to least): identity attacks, destabilization, boyfriend jealousy, family, insecurities, and secret exposure. Retaliation behaviors, including truth coalition, face-to-face confrontation, faux confrontation, cancel the friendship, gossip, cold shoulder, physical violence, rumors, nonverbal cues, picking teams, and specialized torture were found to be either methods of social leveling or payback. These results are the first to continue the examination of social aggression in terms of self communication and the communication process. Results suggest that the kind of retaliation exhibited to these provocative topics depends considerably on context. including the extent to which boys are involved, socioeconomic status of parties involved, proof of wrongdoing, and extent to which a party feels the need to save face. Results also suggest significant implications regarding low socioeconomic status. that cultural, ethnic, and racial differences are confounded with socioeconomic status to the point that cultural, ethnic, and racial traits can become shared with those of differing groups if low socioeconomic status is shared.

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