The Role of Sociability Self-Concept in the Relationship between Exposure to and Concern about Aggression in Middle School

This study examined middle grades students’ sociability self-concept and their perceptions about feeling safe at school. Participants’ (N = 420) exposure to school aggression and concern about the potential for violence at school were measured across four critical areas: fighting, bullying, stealing, and seeing weapons. Results indicated a limited exposure to school aggression for these young adolescents. However, students who did report seeing more aggression at school also tended to be more concerned about aggressive incidents occurring. The prediction of concern by exposure was stronger among students low in sociability self-concept and weaker for those high in sociability self-concept. Sociability self-concept, thus, appeared to be a protective factor, in that sociability self-concept buffered the effect of exposure to aggression on concern about violence at school. These results highlight the importance of attending to sociability self-concept during early adolescence in our efforts to reduce concern about aggression in the middle grades school environment.

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Published in Research in Middle Level Education Online, 2013