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Intervention helps overcome mean girl behaviour

Intervention helps overcome mean girl behaviour
Highlights

Researchers at the University of Missouri in the US have developed and tested an intervention that effectively decreases relational aggression or \"mean girl\" behaviour among teen girls.

Washington: Researchers at the University of Missouri in the US have developed and tested an intervention that effectively decreases relational aggression or "mean girl" behaviour among teen girls.

Relational aggression, or mean girl behaviour, is a non-physical form of aggression normally used among adolescent girls and it includes gossiping, rumour spreading, exclusion and rejection.

"This study represents a first step in helping school personnel meet the intervention needs of a diverse group of relationally aggressive girls," said Melissa Maras.

Maras is co-author and assistant professor in the department of educational, school and counseling psychology at the University of Missouri' college of education.

"Good outcomes can happen when priorities are set by schools and families to prevent and eliminate relational aggression," explained Connie Brooks. She is co-author and assistant professor in the department of health psychology at the School of Health Professions.

The intervention called Growing Interpersonal Relationships through Learning and Systemic Supports (GIRLSS) is a 10 week, group counselling, care giver training and care giver phone consultation intervention for relationally aggressive middle school girls and their families.

Under the intervention, students ranging from 12 to 15 years participated in one 70-minute session per week that included interactive discussions, media-based examples, role playing, journaling and weekly goal setting.

Following the intervention, school counsellors and teachers reported a decrease in relationally aggressive behaviour among the girls.

"This study was an attempt to address this social problem in a meaningful way by testing an intervention to reduce relational aggression among teen girls," concluded Connie Brooks.

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