Fear reactivity and effortful control in overt and relational bullying: A six-month longitudinal study

Andrew M. Terranova, Amanda Sheffield Morris, Paul Boxer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


This study examined the roles of fear reactivity and emotional regulatory abilities in overt and relational bullying behaviors. Survey data were collected from 124 middle school students (mean age = 10.3 years, 47% males, 61% Caucasian) and their teachers in the fall and spring of a school year. Surveys included teacher- and self-rated measures of students' overt and relational bullying along with self-reported fear reactivity and effortful control. Findings show that low levels of fear reactivity and effortful control predict higher future levels of overt bullying, but not relational bullying. These results suggest that despite high correlations between overt and relational bullying, these two forms of aggression develop through different processes. The findings from this investigation are discussed with respect to their implications for theory on the development of aggression as well as prevention and intervention programming for youth aggression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-115
Number of pages12
JournalAggressive Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2008



  • Behavioral regulation
  • Bullying
  • Emotion regulation
  • Fear reactivity

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