Audrey Schoenfeld and David Nelson, School of Family Life
The purpose of this project was to code data collected from survey’s given to adolescents in three different countries. The purpose of the survey was to investigate the current adolescent perceptions of aggression in Turkey, Taiwan, and Ukraine. We also coded data collected from the United States to use as a comparative sample. The method of coding was the Nelson et al. (2008) coding categories with slight variations instituted by Dr. David Nelson. The start of statistical analysis from the coding of the data has begun and is ongoing. The purpose of the statistical analysis is to look into the developmental, gender, and cultural differences in the reported aggressive acts of boys to boys, boys to girls, girls to girls, and girls to boys. I specifically explored whether adolescents spontaneously described unique forms of aggression, particularly relational aggression, in the Taiwanese culture. I found many responses that were unique in the sexual and physical aggression categories. The statistical analysis that I participated in was a preliminary comparison of the responses from Taiwan and Turkey, but further analysis will be conducted for more conclusive results. The team of coders presented a poster at the Mary Lu Fulton conference April 9, 2015 of the preliminary comparisons between the Taiwan and Turkey Junior Highs.
Starting in the spring of 2014, Dr. David Nelson and Christine Cramer (graduate instructor) gave a weekly training meeting to familiarize the research team with the coding strategy. In those meetings the research assistants were able to ask clarifying questions and discus how to code culturally unique responses. All of the data was coded using the Nelson et al. (2008) coding categories. (1) direct (face-to-face) relational aggression, (2) indirect (covert) relational aggression, (3) electronic aggression, (4) nonverbal aggression (gestures and silent treatment), (5) verbal aggression, (6) passive aggression, (7) direct (face-to-face) physical aggression, (8) indirect (covert) physical aggression, and (9) sexual aggression. A team of five to six coders took sections of the responses and used these codes to categorize each response.
The results of a preliminary analysis of the data showed that Taiwan had many unique sexual, and physically aggressive responses. The project itself is still ongoing and more statistical analysis will be run on the coding that has been completed. Some of the unique responses that were found in the Taiwan data were in three of the coding categories.
Sexual: hit his/her sexual organ, grab his/her sexual organ, poke his sexual organ, make fun about his/her sexual organs, attack his/her sexual organ, play with his/her sexual organ, Aluba: “Aluba” is a name of a popular prank among Asian teenage males. (A group of guys would grab the one guy that was targeted and force him to hit a pole or a tree. Specifically, with the way they’re grabbing him, this one guy’s sexual organ would hit the pole or the tree first.), poke his/her anus, force sexual behaviors among the same sex (boys to boys), rape his girlfriend while controlling/limiting his actions (so he cannot do anything about it), take her naked photos (by using forces), touch her breast (boy to girl), give her bad nicknames (flat chest, airport), touch him/her against his/her will, touch him/her without consent to make him/her uncomfortable.
Physical: lock in restroom, drag to the restroom and beat him/her up, get him/her to the, restroom for negotiation, cover his/her head with plastic bag, rub him with facial hair, taser his/her stomach, take off clothes, cover his upper body with a pillowcase and then beat him up, spill urine on him/her, feed dirt into his mouth, feed him chalk, (make him/her) get on the ground and bark like a dog, pee on him, pour sulfuric acid on him/her, pour water/drinks on him/her, hit each other with mops, burn her with a cigarette, make him/her drink water from the toilet, shave his/her head, hit him/her with baseball bat, drop water on her neck when she’s napping.
Verbal: revile at her/him: (from the translator: “I think revile would be the most appropriate word. This word will show throughout the document. This is usually angry verbal insult, which could include criticizing, yelling, name calling, intimidating, and a variety of things. The key is “anger” and “verbal”.”)
As a research team we found that teens across cultures have many similar forms of aggression. An initial review of the findings between Taiwan and Turkey showed similar trends in relational, verbal and physical aggression. Girls were more relationally aggressive, but Taiwanese adolescents reported a higher amount of sexually aggressive responses. The initial analysis of the Taiwanese Jr. High data showed a need for Dr. Nelson to broaden the sexual aggression category in order to include all of the culturally unique responses of those adolescents. Further statistical analysis is needed (and will be performed) in order to more accurately compare those findings in Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine and the U.S. Even at first look however, these cultural findings present a need for further research into the aggressive viewpoints and tendencies of Taiwanese Adolescents. With such overwhelmingly repeated examples of the same types of sexually and physically aggressive acts written by different responders, the concern arises as to what is being done about these serious forms of aggression. Many of these sexual and physically aggressive acts are also relational, such as all of the group involvement and hurting people other than the target in order to hurt that target. This may be a place of weakness in the coding process because of the difficulty that we found in coding for both the relational and physical/sexual characteristics in single responses.
Dr. Nelson and his continuing research team are currently running statistical analysis as this project moves forward. They have planned to run many different comparisons in the data including; results between countries, genders, age groups, coding categories, etc. They anticipate a rich array of statistical results to draw from in order to compile the research findings. Dr. Nelson hopes to present this research at upcoming conferences local and worldwide.
There may be many different contributors to examine in order to further understand where these acts and ideas of aggression are coming from. These factors may include socioeconomic status of the schools where the surveys were given, media preferences, exposure to pornographic material, peer pressure, family situations, etc. This research, as with all research, is being conducted to help better understand what adolescents view of aggression and thus give more insight as to what can be done to prevent, study, and/or intervene in the future.
- Nelson, D., Springer, M., Nelson, L., & Bean, N. (2008). Normative beliefs regarding aggression in emerging adulthood. Social Development, 17, 638-660.