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Communication Faculty Publish Work on Relational Aggression Among College Women
Professors Aimee Miller-Ott and Lynne Kelly of the School of Communication, A&S, recently published an article in Women’s Studies in Communication (volume 36, pages 330-347) titled “Mean Girls in College: An Analysis of How College Women Communicatively Construct and Account for Relational Aggression.”
In this study, Miller-Ott and Kelly interviewed 35 women on the University of Hartford campus and asked about their experiences with relational aggression (defined as manipulating others’ social standing and reputation through communication behaviors that include gossiping, spreading rumors, name-calling, cruel teasing, and ostracizing) at the college level. They found that women justified engaging in these behaviors against other college women by using the excuse that “girls will be girls,” framing relational aggression as just a form of venting about their problems, blaming the victim, minimizing their role in the actual behaviors, and regret (although regret usually included blaming the victim or the other women involved in the relational aggression). The study highlights the fact that women see relational aggression as normal and expected but bad female behavior.
Another article from this data is currently in press with Qualitative Research Reports in Communication.
Read the article that was publshed in Women’s Studies in Communication.