Adolescents’ Perceptions of Male Involvement in Relational Aggression: Age and Gender Differences


relational aggression, homophobic bullying, adolescent perceptions, rationalization, rape myth


This study compared age and gender differences in adolescents' perceptions of male involvement in relational aggression (RA). After viewing two of four video clips portraying RA, each participating adolescent (N = 314; Grades 8−12) answered questions related to rationalizing bullying behaviors—specifically minimizing bullying, blaming victims, and excusing bullies. Although age differences were not detected, differences in male and female perceptions were noted. Although males were more likely to minimize the impact of RA, both males and females particularly minimized the impact of male-to-male homophobic RA. In comparison to males, females expressed more sympathy for male victims and perceived bystanders as enjoying RA. Implications for bullying prevention/intervention efforts include giving greater consideration to the differences between male and female perceptions of RA; directly focusing on adolescents’ rationalizations for tolerating/condoning male homophobic bullying; and expanding beyond the bully–victim dyad to consider the broader social context surrounding bullying.

Original Publication Citation

Johnson, C., Heath, M. A., Bailey, B., Coyne, S. M., Yamawaki, N., & Eggett, D. L. (2013). Adolescents’ perceptions of male involvement in relational aggression: Age and gender differences. Journal of School Violence, 12, 357-377.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Journal of School Violence




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor