Differentiated content of verbal aggression: Effect of gender on insults in secondary schools in Poland
A large body of literature shows that boys and girls experience different kinds of peer aggression. This difference is usually explained by the function of bullying depending on gender and age. In the present study, we used a mixed method called concept mapping to analyze the content structure of verbal aggression. We compared this structure between two levels of Polish schools—middle school and high school. Using experimental manipulation we tested whether the content of verbal invectives depends on the gender of the victim. Results showed six different types of verbal invectives. Middle school students listed substantially more in four out of the six categories. There were significant effects of the experimental manipulation of the victim's gender. When the male victim was primed there were significantly more sexual insults and when the female victim was primed there was substantially more ability-related verbal bullying. We interpret these results in the context of the development and norms of masculinity and femininity.