Abstract

The current study explored the temporal stability in relational aggressor's profiles over a 6-month period. Data were gathered at two time points from a sample of 2207 Greek junior high school students (52.8% females) aged between 13 and 16 (M = 14.04, SD = 0.81) years. This study also considered the role of callous-unemotional traits and hostile attribution bias in predicting profile membership. Results of latent profile and latent transition analyses revealed three distinct relational aggression profiles (i.e., low relational aggression, moderate relational aggression/high reactive indirect relational aggression, and high relational aggression). The examination of the short-term longitudinal stability of these profiles over a period of 6 months showed that their basic structure remained stable at both the within-sample and within-person level across measurement points. In addition, this study showed that callous-unemotional traits and hostile attribution bias affect adolescents' possibility of membership in all three profiles. Adolescents scoring high on callous-unemotional traits and hostile attribution bias were more likely to be associated with the more aggressive profiles, namely with the high relational aggression, and to a lesser extent, with the moderate relational aggression profile. Overall, this study demonstrated that the basic structure of relational aggression profiles remained stable across a short-term time period and provides numerous crucial practical implications including social-cognitive reframing interventions, as well as enhancement of social skills and empathic reactions.

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