Magazine article USA TODAY

Boys Also Benefit from Less "Mean Girls"

Magazine article USA TODAY

Boys Also Benefit from Less "Mean Girls"

Article excerpt

When a targeted program to reduce relational aggression among at-risk girls is shared with the entire classroom, the whole class benefits. Researchers from The Children s Hospital of Philadelphia (Pa.) recently reported these findings from Friend to Friend (F2F), a program they developed to prevent relational aggression among urban girls.

Relational aggression, popularized as "mean girl" behavior, is nonphysical, using gossip and social exclusion to manipulate social standing or reputations. In contrast to the physical aggression more prevalent among boys, relational aggression is the most common type of aggression among girls.

F2F is a 10-week, 20session small group intervention designed for urban African-American third- to fifth-grade girls that teaches problem-solving, anger management strategies, and leadership skills. In addition, halfway through the intervention, the girls work with facilitators in the classroom to colead 10 full classroom sessions of the F2F curriculum in an effort to reinforce the skills they learned and to promote their leadership and reputation change.

F2F is the first and only relational aggression intervention to demonstrate a decrease in relationally aggressive behaviors among urban minority girls that continued at least a year after the conclusion of the program. …

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