Date of Award

1999

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours

School

School of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Amanda Blackmore

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate children's attitudes towards aggressive and submissive peers. A 2 x 2 x 2 factorial design was used to test the hypotheses. The three between-subjects variables were (a) the label given to the target child (aggressive/submissive) in a vignette, (b) the nature of the behaviour displayed in a critical incident (aggressive/nonaggressive response) as described in a vignette, and (c) the sex of the participants. A sample of 169 Year 6 and 7 students was divided into four groups containing at least 20 girls and 20 boys. A survey was administered to measure the attitudes of the participants to the target child in the vignette. The attitude survey measured three dependent variables: (a) class context, (b) sport context, and (c) social context. The three dependent variables measured the extent to which students would like to interact with the target child in the three contexts. A significant main effect was found for label, with the participants indicating that they would prefer to interact with the target child labelled as being submissive than the the target child labelled as being aggressive in the class context. A significant main effect was found for behaviour, with the participants indicating that they would prefer to interact with the target child who demonstrated nonaggressive behaviour during a critical incident than the target child who demonstrated aggressive behaviour during the critical incident in all three contexts. The results of the study suggest that early intervention by educators could prevent the negative outcomes resulting from children behaving aggressively in the school setting.

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