Daniel Deason Accepts Job at Ole Miss

successful job search
Daniel Deason is a lab alumnus who defended his dissertation in 2016. He is nearing the completion of his predoctoral internship at the Counseling Center at the University of Memphis. Daniel just let us know that he has accepted a position as a Staff Psychologist at the Counseling Center at the University of Mississippi.

We are currently working on a paper based on Daniel’s master’s thesis that examines the contribution of social anxiety to the Five Factor Model (Costa & McCrae, 1992) of personality in understanding relational aggression in college students.

Congratulations to Daniel on the new job!

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.

Dark Personalities and Relational Aggression

The "Dark Triad" of personality refers to narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, three constructs with links to overt aggression and other socially undesirable behaviors. Despite the utility of these variables in understanding a variety of behaviors, relatively little is known about their potential role in relational aggression. Moreover, there may be other "dark personality" constructs not adequately represented in the Dark Triad that could be helpful in understanding relationally aggressive behaviors (e.g., sadism).

We recently started collecting data for a couple of studies examining the possible role of the Dark Triad constructs in relational aggression and how they fit into broader models of personality, such as the Five Factor Model and the
HEXACO model of personality.

These studies fit our goal of learning more about relational aggression among emerging adults. In addition, it seems that the study of dark personality constructs may be beneficial in some of our other research areas (e.g., anger and traffic psychology).

Sarah Burghaus Proposes Thesis on Driving Anger

Sarah Burghaus, a doctoral student in her second year, successfully proposed her master's thesis yesterday. She hopes to begin data collection in January.

We know that driving anger is a robust predictor of aggressive driving, non-aggressive forms of unsafe driving, and a number of crash-related conditions (e.g., near misses, losses of concentration while driving). Sarah's thesis, Relationship of Mindfulness, Empathy, and Consideration of Future Consequences to Driving Anger, will examine three variables which may mitigate the experience of driving anger: trait mindfulness, empathy, and the consideration of future consequences.

Sarah will determine whether these variables can enhance the prediction of driving anger beyond the contribution of the Five Factor Model (FFM) of personality. If these variables can explain additional variance in driving anger, it will help to support a case for assessing these constructs as part of a comprehensive evaluation of driver risk and may inform the development of more sophisticated models for understanding the proximate factors contributing to unsafe driving.

Daniel Deason Proposes Thesis on Personality and Relational Aggression

Daniel Deason, a doctoral student in his second year, successfully proposed his master's thesis today. He did a great job presenting his study and obtained approval from his committee to move forward.

Daniel's thesis, Personality and Relational Aggression in College Students: The Role of Social Anxiety and Rejection Sensitivity, will examine the utility of the Five Factor Model (FFM) of personality, social anxiety, and rejection sensitivity in predicting relational aggression between peers and romantic partners. We expect that some of the Big Five personality factors will predict relational aggression but that social anxiety and rejection sensitivity will explain additional variance in relational aggression beyond the contribution of the FFM.