From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Relational aggression, also known as
or covert bullying
is a type of aggression in which harm is caused through
damage to relationships or social status
within a group rather than physical violence.
Relational aggression is more common and more studied among girls
of Relational Abuse
- Lies - Where
the abuser lies about the victim to others.
- Gossip -
Where the abuser tells others personal information about the
- Betrayal - Where the abuser breaks
agreements with the victim.
- Solitude - Where the abuser prevents
the victim from socializing with the victim's friends.
- Exclusion - Where the abuser
prevents the victim from socializing with the abuser's
- Humiliation - Where the abuser
humiliates or shames the victim in front of others.
Origin of the
The term relational aggression was first coined
in a 1995 study by Crick and Grotpeter.  Despite
the novelty of the term, it has gained usage in books, popular
articles, academic papers, web sites and even in the title of
research conferences. 
An abusive relationship is an interpersonal relationship
characterized by the use or threat of physical or psychological abuse (see battered woman syndrome).
Abusive relationships are often characterized by jealousy,
emotional withholding, lack of intimacy, infidelity, sexual
coercion, verbal abuse, broken promises, physical violence, control
games and power plays.. Abusive
relationships are often progressively escalating. That is, the
abuse may get worse over time.
Warning signs of
These are some of the warning signs that may indicate abuse:
- Physical harm of any kind
- Attempts to control aspects of an individual's life (e.g., how
one dresses, who one's friends are, what one says, etc.)
- Coercing and/or threats of physical harm to an individual or
those close to him/her.
- Demands to know where an individual is at all times
- Abuse of drugs or alcohol
- Growing up witnessing an abusive relationship, and/or was
abused as a child
- An individual "rages" when they are hurt, shamed, or are in
jeopardy of losing control in the relationship.
- Online manipulation ie. abuser is poised to hurt victim using
knowledge of technology
- Kupkovits, Jamie Relational Aggression in Girls (2008)
- Randall, Kaye & Bowen, Allyson A. Mean Girls: 101 1/2
Creative Strategies for Working With Relational Aggression
- Wosnik, Debra The I Hate Wendy Club: Story, Lessons, &
Activities on Relational Aggression, Grades 2-5 (2007)
- Carpenter, Erika M. & Nangle, Douglas W. Caught between
stages: relational aggression emerging as a developmental advance
in at-risk preschoolers. Journal of Research in Childhood Education
- Casas, J.F., Weigel, S.M., Crick, N.R., Ostrov, J.M., Woods,
K.E., Jansen Yeh, E.A., Huddleston-Casas, C.A. (2006). Early
parenting and children’s relational and physical aggression in the
preschool and home contexts. Journal of Applied Developmental
Psychology, 27, 209-2227.
- Crick, N.R. & Grotpeter, J.K (1995). Relational aggression,
gender, and social psychological adjustment. Child Development, 66,
- Crick, N. R., Ostrov, J. F., & Kawabata, Y. (in press).
Relational aggression and gender: An overview. Invited chapter to
appear in D. J. Flannery, A. Vazsonyi & I. Waldman (Eds.), The
Cambridge Handbook of Violent Behavior and Aggression.
- Crick, N. R., Ostrov, J. M., & Werner, N. E. (2006). A
longitudinal study of relational aggression, physical aggression
and children’s social-psychological adjustment. Journal of Abnormal
Child Psychology, 34, 131-142.
- Ostrov, J.M. Crick, N.R. Stauffacher, K. Relational aggression
in sibling and peer relationships during early childhood. Journal
of Applied Developmental Psychology
- Stauffacher, K. & DeHart, G.B. Crossing social contexts:
Relational aggression between siblings and friends during early and
middle childhood. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology