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date: 21 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

Research suggests that intrasexual aggression during adolescence functions in competition over dating and reproductive opportunities and that aggressive strategies are more adaptive for females at this developmental stage. This sex difference appears to be related to the differential use of aggressive behavior and slightly uneven developmental trajectory between adolescent males and females. Competition over males is a common motive for female aggression during middle and high school, and, similar to adults, adolescent aggressors often use tactics of competitor derogation to lower the mate value of rivals. Taking an evolutionary perspective, findings demonstrate that adolescent females who engage in intrasexual peer aggression tend to have adaptive dating and sexual patterns, whereas those who are frequently victimized suffer maladaptive fitness outcomes. Recent research also shows that directed female intrasexual aggression during early stages of adolescence can be effective in both disrupting dating relationships of rivals and gaining access to desired dating partners.

Keywords: peer aggression, intrasexual competition, dating behavior, adolescence, victimization

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