Social intelligence as a moderator of the association between peer status and the forms and functions of aggression

Gommans, R. (2011)
Unpublished manuscript, Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen 

In this study, I examined the influence of social intelligence on the associations of two forms of peer status (preference and popularity) with two forms of aggression (physical and relational) and two functions of aggression (proactive and reactive). It is hypothesized that the frequency, form, and function of aggression varies between adolescents of similar status (i.e., high/low preference and high/low popularity), as a function of their level of social intelligence.

In summary, the current study showed that social intelligence is negatively related to aggressive behavior, most likely due to a better understanding of the social environment and – in turn – more adequate reactions to this social environment. However, in some cases, an adequate level of social intelligence also offers the necessary skills to behave in a relational or proactive aggressive manner, while remaining popular and well-liked. Future studies should replicate and extent the current study to achieve a better understanding of the process that links social intelligence to aggressive behavior.

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