Science and Tech


Mean Girls Not As Prevalent As Bullying Boys

A new study in the journal Aggressive Behavior shows boys are more likely than girls to be emotionally aggressive toward their peers.
Posted at 1:42 PM, Dec 03, 2014

Most women with painful high school memories know: There's little worse than a mean girl.

"And evil takes a human form in Regina George. She knows everything about everyone." "That's why her hair is so big. It's full of secrets." (Video via Paramount Movies / "Mean Girls")

But it turns out catty girls might not be the biggest emotional bullies on the block. (Video via Lionsgate)

According to a new study published in the journal Aggressive Behavior, emotional bullying or "relational aggression" appears to be more prevalent among boys and young men in every grade from 6 to 12, compared to girls and young women.

This revelation was a bit surprising to researchers, considering female relational aggression has been a topic of discussion since the 1970s.

Previous studies have published information on different expressions of bullying, citing male physical aggression and female emotional aggression, based on the belief that women put more stock in social relationships and are therefore more likely to manipulate them. (Video via YouTube / PrimoEducation)

Websites like and are aimed specifically at helping young women cope with peer aggressors.

A boys-only anti-bullying set of literature doesn't seem to exist. If not aimed at girls, most anti-bullying information seems to be generalized for all children.

But it appears boys and young men utilize many of the same social exclusion methods that girls and young women have been associated with, as both sexes aim to just fit in, according to the researchers.

The most shocking part of this study is how widespread relational aggression is among children and young adults, even if it's a small amount. (Video via HASfit)

More than half of the study participants, boys and girls, showed only low aggression toward others, but almost all partook at some point during the study: 96 percent.

Bullying can lead to depression, anxiety, declining school performance and social maladjustment, which is spurring researchers to delve deeper into understanding the behavior. (Video via YouTube / Mormon Channel)

If you or someone you know is affected by bullying, log on to for resources.