Aggressors and their victims: Toward a contextual framework for understanding children′s aggressor-victim relationships


Research on the development of aggression and victimization has focused on the psychological and behavioral characteristics of the individual children. The need exists to examine aggressors and victims, (a) as interdependent participants in a social relationship, and (b) as a relationship embedded within the social context of children′s peer relations. It is argued that the study of the aggressor-victim relationship would benefit by focusing on the dyad as the unit of analysis. Further, we recommend the inclusion of contextual factors for the comprehensive study of aggressors and their victims. As an example of this approach, the four facets of context suggested by Cohen and Siegel (Cohen, R., & Siegel, A. W. (1991). A context for context: Toward an analysis of context and development. In Cohen R. and Siegal, A. W. (Eds.), Context and Development (pp.3-23). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.) are applied to the study of the aggressor-victim relationship. Several directions for future research are suggested. © 1995 Academic Press, Inc.

Publication Title

Developmental Review