Aggression and Violence in Girls: Understanding Rates, Risk Factors and Developmental Trajectories

Marlene M. Moretti, Simon Fraser University
Candice Odgers, University of Virginia

Do we need to be concerned by trends in juvenile justice statistics and self-report information showing steadily increasing rates of aggression among girls? It is well-documented that boys outnumber girls as perpetrators of serious forms of aggressive behaviour. Over the last two decades, however, rates of official (Australian Institute of Criminology, 2002, OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book, 2000; Snyder & Sickmund, 1999; Statistics Canada, 2001) and self-report (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001) violent offending among female adolescents have increased significantly. In addition, changes in the conceptualisation of aggression to include indirect and relational forms, has resulted in the placement of adolescent females at the forefront of many research, policy and programming agendas. In this talk we will provide an overview of trends in crime statistics and self-report findings related to aggression and violence in girls. A developmental model, with particular emphasis on the role of attachment security, self-regulatory development, and victimization will be presented. Our current research program and future initiatives will be discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006