Science & Tech

It's not the mean girls we should worry about

It's not the mean girls we should worry about

Forget mean girls: a new study from academics at the University of Georgia has found that it's mean boys we should worry about.

The longitudinal study, published in the journal Aggressive Behavio[u]r, followed 620 randomly selected students across six school districts in Georgia, America, from middle school (ages 11-14) to high school (ages 14-18) and found it was boys who used rumours and social exclusion as a weapon rather than girls.

Pamela Orpinas, the public health professor leading the study, said what is known as relational aggression was common at that age, but boys were more likely to engage it in.

"Almost all of the students surveyed, 96 percent, had passed a rumour or made a nasty comment about someone over the course of the seven-year study," she said.

"But oddly enough, we don't have enough research on why boys would be relationally aggressive because people have assumed it's a girl behaviour."

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