Personal conflict narratives were written by 364 4th–6th graders from two urban schools in the U.S. mid-south that contrasted in levels of poverty and crime. Narratives were coded for severity of violence, type of aggression, explanations, characters’ mental and emotional states, and authors’ moral evaluations. Boys described more severe physical violence than girls, but provided fewer explanations, less moral evaluation, and showed less psychological mindedness in the moderate-stress neighborhood, but only when they wrote stories about boy aggressors and physical or psychological aggression. Boys describing girl or relational aggression were as psychologically and morally astute as girls were. Girls also neglected to explain and evaluate boys’ aggression. Findings supported a social constructivist model of how narrative discourse may gender aggression.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: May 12, 2009
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