TU Berlin

Department of Educational PsychologyZERA – Rejection sensitivity and relational aggression

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ZERA – Rejection sensitivity and relational aggression

Completed research project conerning the relationship between biased perception of social interactions, behavioral norms and problems with social relationships and school adjustment.

Recent research shows that individual psychological characteristics and the quality of interpersonal relationships have a greater influence on school adjustment than traditional models describing successful school achievement propose (Ittel & Raufelder, 2009). The aim of this research project is to examine cognitive and behavioral factors, such as rejection sensitivity (the anxious expectation, perception, and overreaction to rejection - Downey, Feldman, Khouri, & Friedman, 1994) and relational aggression (the tendency to harm other relationships by spreading lies, gossiping, or ignoring others - Crick & Grotpeter, 1995) in their association with school adjustment by exploring their relevance for academic performance, school involvement, status within the classroom, and psychosocial outcomes, such as anxiety and loneliness within a longitudinal framework.
Other factors like social information processing, impulse control, cognitive abilities and environmental conditions, such as classroom climate, and parent-child-relationship, will be taken into consideration as moderating factors, as well as age and gender differences to obtain a comprehensive picture of the determinants of successful academic adjustment.
Based on the findings, a model will be developed to depict the interrelation between cognitive and behavioral problems (with focus on rejection sensitivity and relational aggression), as well as problematic relationships and negative academic outcomes. The ultimate goal is to emphasize the relevance of inaccurate perceptions and inadequate behavior (resulting in interpersonal difficulties) for maladjustment in school and to point out the importance of social-competence-trainings to reduce antisocial behavior within the classroom.

Contact: Dr. Jan Pfetsch


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