Relational Aggression Victimization as a Predictor of Middle-School Girls' Self-Disclosure to Peers

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Being a victim of relational aggression is associated with many negative outcomes among adolescent girls, and diminished self-disclosure to peers may be one of them. Given this possibility, it is important to examine potential mediators of this relation. Middle-school girls (N = 180) completed paper-and-pencil measures of relational aggression victimization, self-disclosure to their peer group, and four potential mediators—outcome expectations about self-disclosure, loneliness, social anxiety, and self-esteem. Negative outcome expectations about disclosure and loneliness were significant mediators of the relation between being a victim of relational aggression and self-disclosing to the peer group. Despite the limitations of these cross-sectional data, the present findings suggest that relational aggression is associated with diminished disclosure to others because victimized girls experience heightened loneliness and because they believe that self-disclosure will lead to negative outcomes.


This article was originally published as Jones, J. L., Kahn, J. H., & Sullivan, S. D. (2020). Relational aggression victimization as a predictor of middle-school girls’ self-disclosure to peers. Violence and Victims, 35(1), 54-67.