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In Great Britain, 20% of adolescents report being bullied by someone spreading hurtful rumors about them (Sharp, 1995).
Girls who are victims of nonphysical aggression have been found to be more likely to engage in harmful behaviors such as smoking or considering suicide (Olafsen & Viemero, 2000).
Emotional aggression is usually treated differently in the legal system (with less severe consequences) from cognitive, instrumental aggression.
Craig (1998) found that children who were victims of bullying showed more depression, loneliness, peer rejection, and anxiety in comparison to other children.
Therefore, it is probably best to consider emotional and instrumental aggression not as distinct categories but rather as endpoints on a continuum (Bushman & Anderson, 2001).
Social psychologists agree that aggression can be verbal as well as physical.
Nonverbal aggression also occurs in the form of sexual, racial, and homophobic jokes and epithets, which are designed to cause harm to individuals.
The following list (adapted from Archer & Coyne, 2005) presents some examples of the types of nonphysical aggression that have been observed in children and adults.
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Therefore, slinging insults at a friend is definitely aggressive, according to our definition, just as hitting someone is.