Daniel Deason Defends Master's Thesis

Daniel Deason successfully defended his master's thesis today, Personality and Relational Aggression in College Students: The Role of Social Anxiety and Rejection Sensitivity. Daniel's study examined the utility of the Five Factor Model (FFM) of personality, as well as social anxiety and rejection sensitivity in predicting relational aggression in college students' peer and romantic relationships.

In examining the zero-order correlations between the FFM constructs and relational aggression, both peer and romantic relational aggression were inversely related to agreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability (i.e., the inverse of neuroticism). Thus, more relationally aggressive students scored lower on agreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability.

When peer relational aggression and romantic relational aggression were each regressed on the five FFM constructs, extraversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability emerged as significant predictors. Students reporting more relational aggression tended to be more extraverted, less agreeable, and have lower emotional stability.

Based on the literature, the strongest case could be made for the role of agreeableness and emotional stability. So, sequential regressions designed to take student gender and race into account were conducted. Agreeableness and emotional stability predicted peer relational aggression; emotional stability predicted romantic relational aggression.

Finally, the incremental validity of social anxiety and rejection sensitivity was tested over and above participant gender, race, and the full FFM. Social anxiety but not rejection sensitivity demonstrated evidence of incremental validity here. Interestingly, extraversion joined agreeableness and emotional stability as predictors of both peer and romantic relational aggression, suggesting that this variable may be more relevant than was previously thought.

Additional analyses will be needed to better evaluate the potential role of participant gender and race, so we will be sure to share them here once they are completed.
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