The Development and Treatment of Girlhood Aggression

The Development and Treatment of Girlhood Aggression

The Development and Treatment of Girlhood Aggression

The Development and Treatment of Girlhood Aggression


After decades of neglect, researchers have begun to focus attention on the development and outcomes of girlhood aggression. This comprehensive volume provides an account of some of the pioneering research in the field. Its central aims are to highlight current understanding, identify key components for preventing and treating the complex array of problems experienced by aggressive girls, and raise new questions for future research. The perspectives presented by the authors highlight the diverse factors that moderate the emergence of aggression while offering insight into how to target that aggression at various stages of development. The problem is presented as a continuum from normative forms of behavior to extreme and serious attacks. The importance of relationships--particularly family relationships--is a theme that permeates the entire volume. A growing body of research indicates that aggression in girls is a predictor of long-term psychological, social, academic, health, and intergenerational problems. The knowledge provided by the authors hasnbsp;tremendous potential to inform practice with troubled girls, their families, and support systems.


In early 1999, Earlscourt Child and Family Centre and the La Marsh Centre for Research on Violence and Conflict Resolution at York University agreed to work together to host an international symposium in Toronto on aggression among girls. Both organizations deal with such aggression from various perspectives, and we felt the field might be advanced by bringing together professionals who could share their most recent findings.

We were encouraged by the enthusiastic response to the symposium from both presenters and participants. There was a sense of importance and urgency during the proceedings. Finally, social scientists, clinicians, teachers, and policy analysts were all gathered together to reflect specifically on the development and treatment of girlhood aggression. Because this focus would have been inconceivable a decade ago, a sense of history making was also evident.

Indeed at the 1988 Earlscourt Symposium on Childhood Aggression in Toronto, girls were hardly mentioned. In the 1991 publication of that symposium's proceedings, The Development and Treatment of Childhood Aggression, the word girls was not listed in the subject index. Studies on childhood aggression largely excluded girls; treatment interventions for young girls with aggression were unknown. However, two presenters at the 1988 symposium did, lament this state of affairs and called for studies focusing on the development of girlhood aggression.

Historically, in community-based settings dealing with children exhibiting aggressive behavior, such as Earlscourt Child and Family Centre, interventions have not been gender specific. Boys referred to treatment outnumbered girls by a factor of four or five, and the girls who did come for help did not receive gender-specific treatment. Girls, for example, attended anger-management treatment groups alongside boys and were mixed with boys in small treatment classrooms. Yet data collected at . . .

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