The relation of cyber aggression to peer social competence in the classroom for children in China


Engaging in cyber aggression has been shown to be associated with negative psychosocial adjustment for both the victim and the aggressor for U.S. samples. Of particular interest to the present research was how engaging in cyber aggression related to classroom peer social competence for children in China. Participants were 494 students (Boys = 278; Girls = 216), Grades 3–6, attending an elementary school in Wuhan, China. A path analysis was performed using peer nominations for classroom aggression (overt and relational) and self-reports of cyber aggression to predict: intra-individual social competence (global self-worth, loneliness, peer optimism); relationships (number of classroom mutual friends); and group level social competence (peer nominations for sociability behaviors and for popularity). Consistent with previous research on children, extent of engaging in cyber aggression was associated with negative intra-individual and relationship classroom social competence measures. Unlike other studies, extent of cyber aggression was not associated with group level evaluations. Overt aggression was found to relate to classroom social competence in a similar fashion as reported for U.S. children; relational aggression showed a different pattern. The findings highlight the importance of examining the unique associations of types and forms of aggression to social competence, particularly in relation to culture.

Publication Title

Social Development