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The Complex Nature of Youth Aggression: Relations Between Cognition, Discrimination, and Peer Perceptions of Bullying Involvement

NCJ Number
Youth & Society Dated: 2020
K. L. Mulvey; et al
Date Published

Since youth victimization and aggression are common in adolescents’ daily lives, this study examined relations between youth cognition and reasoning related to bullying and possible responses to bullying, peer nominations related to youth roles in the bullying ecology, and self-report experiences of perceived racial discrimination, using latent class analyses.


Participants included 6th (n = 423) and 9th (n = 392) grade adolescents in the United States (49.1 percent female). Five distinct classes emerged: Typical, Uninvolved, Challengers, Experiences Discrimination, and Experiences Discrimination and Involved. Participants in these classes expressed their views on the acceptability of youth aggression and their likelihood of various responses to youth aggression. Findings indicate that the Challengers class was most likely to judge the aggression as wrong and the least likely to indicate that they would not respond if they observed aggression. Furthermore, both classes of youth who reported experiencing discrimination judged the aggression as more acceptable. (publisher abstract modified)