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Gender Differences in Socioemotional Factors During Adolescence and Effects of a Violence Prevention Program

Maite Garaigordobil, Carmen Maganto, José Ignacio Pérez, Eneko Sansinenea


The study had two aims: 1) to analyze the existence of gender differences in socioemotional developmental factors, and 2) to apply a program of education for peace and prevention of violence to determine whether the pretest–posttest change in socioemotional developmental factors differs as a function of gender.
The sample comprised 285 adolescents, aged 15–16 years, including 162 experimental subjects and 123 control subjects. An experimental design of repeated pre–posttest measures with a control group was used, and four assessment instruments were administered.
Analyses of variance confirmed significantly higher scores in the female adolescents in cognitions of rejection of violence, prosocial cognitions, cooperative conflict solving, positive strategies for coping with violence, and positive social behaviors. Male adolescents obtained significantly higher scores in cognitions of acceptance of violence, aggressive conflict solving, aggressive strategies for coping with violence, and negative social behaviors. The pre–post change in most of the factors of socioemotional development assessed was similar in both sexes.
Results suggest the need to reflect on and modify the type of childrearing and socialization patterns that are promoted in males so that they will favor the development of skills oriented toward warm interpersonal relations, nonaggressive communication, positive social behaviors, internal control of anger, empathy, etc. Results also suggest including supplementary modules for males when designing interventions to prevent violence.
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