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Original scientific paper

Teachers' Attitudes toward Children's Aggressive Behavior: The Effects of Type of Aggression, Gender of Aggressor, and Gender of Victim


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page 1055-1079

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Teachers' attitudes and beliefs toward children's aggressive
behavior are important yet underinvestigated factors that can
influence the development of children's aggression as well as
the effects of school-based programs aimed at reducing and
preventing aggression. The present paper deals with
teachers' attitudes toward children's aggressive behavior, i.e.,
with their perceptions of the seriousness of various kinds of
children's aggressive behavior, their perceptions of the extent
to which the victim of aggression suffers, and their readiness
to intervene when witnessing children's aggressive acts. The
sample consisted of 136 elementary-school teachers of
female sex. The impact of the type of aggression (direct
versus indirect), aggressor's gender and victim's gender on
teachers' ratings were analysed. Relations between the three
measures of teachers' attitudes were also examined, as well
as differences in the likelihood of applying various kinds of
intervention in relation to the type of aggression. Results
have shown that teachers viewed direct aggressive behaviors
(both physical and verbal) as more serious or more
"aggressive" than indirect aggressive behaviors. Teachers also
thought that victims of direct aggressive acts were more
distressed than victims of indirect aggressive acts. In
addition, teachers proved to be more likely to intervene when
witnessing direct rather than indirect aggression acts. Those
teachers' attitudes were independent of the gender of the
aggressor and the victim. Interaction of the gender of
aggressor and victim with the type of aggression also had no
impact on teachers' attitudes. Correlational analysis has
shown that there is a tendency among teachers to rate those
aggressive behaviors that they view as more serious also as
more stressful for the victim. In addition, teachers were more
ready to intervene when witnessing behaviors that they
perceived as both more serious and more stressful for the
victim. Finally, teachers were more likely to use most of the
examined intervention measures when witnessing direct
rather than indirect forms of aggression. The results were
discussed in terms of their significance for planning and
implementing preventive and intervention programs in
schools, as well as in terms of the need to broaden teachers'
knowledge about the various types of children's aggression,
their consequences for both the aggressors and the victims,
and the effective ways of intervention.


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