Publication Date

Spring 2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Counselor Education

Abstract

Relational Aggression, a form of bullying frequently experienced and instigated by middle school girls, involves social alienation, rumor spreading and the manipulation of a relationship to cause psychological harm to an individual (Young, Boye & Nelson, 2006). The purpose of this research project is to study the impact of group counseling on female middle school students, who have been identified as instigators of relational aggression. Relational aggression can be devastating to a victim’s self-concept as it, “undermines some of the most significant personal needs and goals of youth: the need for social inclusion, a positive sense of esteem and identity, and the development of meaningful friendships” (Ripley & Oneil, 2009). The study was conducted in a middle school with 5 students in the 8th grade. The researcher facilitated counseling group sessions that occurred once per week for a total of 8 weeks for forty minutes in duration. The researcher implemented activities and lessons adapted from textbooks in an attempt to improve female relationships by helping girls develop empathy, teaching healthy conflict, teaching girls to diffuse their anger without disrespecting one another, and developing authentic relationships with their peers. A pre/post survey was administered to measure group participant’s knowledge and awareness on the subject of relational aggression. A Paired t-test was performed and data was collected and analyzed by the researcher to conclude if group counseling had an impact and negative behaviors decreased.

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