Reputation, Loneliness, Satisfaction with Life and Aggressive Behavior in Adolescence

Article excerpt

The present study analyses the relationship between adolescents' perception of reputation and aggressive behavior among peers. The sample is made up of 1319 adolescents aged 11 to 16 years old. Statistical analyses with structural equation modeling were carried out to examine the direct and indirect effect of perception of reputation (real and ideal) on aggressive behavior. Results indicate that adolescents' real and ideal reputations are related both directly and indirectly to aggressive behavior. The indirect effects suggest that loneliness and life satisfaction mediate the relationship between adolescents' reputation and their aggressive behavior. These findings and their implications are discussed.

Keywords: adolescents' perception of reputation, aggressive behavior, loneliness, life satisfaction

Este trabajo estudia las relaciones entre la percepción de reputación del adolescente y la conducta agresiva entre iguales adolescentes. La muestra está formada por 1319 adolescentes de edades comprendidas entre los 11 y los 16 años. Se utiliza un modelo de ecuaciones estructurales para analizar el efecto directo e indirecto de la reputación (real e ideal) en la conducta agresiva. Los resultados obtenidos confirman que la percepción de reputación real e ideal del adolescente se relaciona tanto directa como indirectamente con la conducta violenta. Los efectos indirectos sugieren que la soledad y la satisfacción con la vida median la relación entre la reputación del adolescente y la conducta agresiva. Se discuten estos resultados y sus implicaciones.

Palabras clave: reputación del adolescente, conducta agresiva, soledad, satisfacción con la vida

School violence is currently a great concern in the scientific and educational community (Cava, Musitu, & Murgui, 2007; Estévez, Murgui, Moreno, & Musitu, 2007). Although now there is less social tolerance and more sensitivity and knowledge about aggressive behavior in the school scenario, the phenomenon of violent peer behavior is still quite common in the educational setting (Defensor del Pueblo [Ombudsman], 2007; Díaz-Aguado, 2005; Smith, 2003; Smith, Ryan, & Cousin, 2007).

In fact, recent investigations show that peer aggression, characterized by its intentionality, persistence, and power inequity (Olweus, 1993), represents a problem all over the world (Akiba, 2004; Gofin, Palti, & Gordon, 2002; Liang, Flisher, & Lombard, 2007; Smith & Brain, 2000) that has increased considerably in the last few years (Eisenbraun, 2007; Estévez, Musitu & Herrero, 2005; Gini, 2006). Olweus (1993, 2001, 2005), pioneer in the study of bullying, states that the frequency of aggressions and victimization in Norway have risen considerably in comparison with the 1980s.

In Spain, despite the social alarm generated by a few severe cases of aggression, the situation of peer maltreatment due to abuse of power has improved in the last decade. The recent report of the Defensor del Pueblo (2007) shows that, compared to 1999, victimization in 2006 decreased by approximately 30% for the most frequent abuses of direct verbal aggression-insulting and nicknaming-(which dropped from 38.1% in 1999 to 26.9% in 2006) and social exclusion-ignoring the other person-(which dropped from 15.1% in 1999 to 10.5% in 2006). The percentages of direct-hitting-and indirect physical aggressions-breaking or stealing another's property-(3.7% in 2006) and indirect verbal aggressions-cursing-(31.6% in 2006) are similar to those of previous years (Defensor del Pueblo, 2007). According to this report, a decrease was also observed in the occurrence of maltreatment episodes when taking into account the perspectives both of the aggressor and the witnesses. Thus, when assessing self-reports of aggression, a decrease of abusive behavior was also observed in the modalities of physical and verbal aggression, whereas when considering the responses of the spectators' of these abusive episodes-that is, the classmates who witnessed these events-a decrease was also observed in verbal aggression (Defensor del Pueblo, 2007). …