School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Jose Puga


Adolescent, Relational Aggression, Bullying, Self-esteem, Perception, Relational Cultural Theory


Education | Educational Leadership


The proposed study is a qualitative design that utilizes a collective case approach. The purpose of this study is to examine administrator response to the academic and social impact that relational aggression has on girls between sixth through eighth grade at Thorn Rose Public Schools. The participants in this study are administrators from the district with diverse racial, gender identity, and ethnic backgrounds. The theories that guide this study are Relational-Cultural Theory (RCT) founded in the work of Jean Miller, M.D., and Erikson's Stages of Psychological Development. The (RCT) theory assumes that humans have a natural drive toward acceptance and relationship building (Miller & Stiver, 1997). According to Erikson's theory, every person must pass through a series of eight interrelated stages over the human life cycle (Erikson, 1993). This research focuses on Erikson’s fifth stage, known as adolescence, a time when academic achievement and social standing had the potential for significant impact. The researcher sought to examine the academic and social impact of aggression and the administrators’ response. Data collection was done through campus observation, a focus group, and a semi-structured interview protocol. The findings of this study included six themes: skillset deficiencies, characteristics of aggression, climate impact, esteem, education, attempted solutions. The participants grappled with their own ability to address the impact of relational aggression. They expressed being inadequately prepared and were at times overwhelmed.