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Young women's narrative accounts of experiencing social aggression in adolescence Dann, Cristina Claire

Abstract

The past decade has seen a rise in research on social, relational and indirect aggression, with a burgeoning focus only recently on the psychosocial consequences of being a target of such behaviours. It is widely understood that experiencing social aggression can trigger internal distress for children and adolescents, but far less is known about the nature and extent of longer-term psychosocial consequences. In this qualitative study, I aim to begin filling this gap by exploring how young women make meaning from experiences of social aggression in adolescence, with a particular focus on how they understand the impact of these experiences on their sense of self and relation to others in adulthood. Seven women between the ages of 25 and 32 were interviewed using a modified collaborative narrative method (Arvay, 2003). Interviews were transcribed and interpreted in narrative form to preserve the unique voice and experience of each participant. Five themes emerged through a process of categorical-content analysis as described by Lieblich, Tuval-Mashiach & Zilber (1998). Themes address participants' meaning-making following experiences of social aggression in terms of the (1) struggle to understand, (2) loss of trust in relationship, (3) changes in sense of self, (4) psychosocial responses, and (5) process of reframing of the experience in adulthood. The themes are discussed within the context of relevant qualitative and quantitative literature on the psychosocial consequence of social, relational and indirect aggression in adolescence and adulthood. Implications for school and community counselling practice and suggestions for future research are examined.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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