Daniel Deason Defends Dissertation

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Daniel Deason successfully defended his dissertation today. He did a fantastic job developing and executing a complex project, and it was great to see him complete this important milestone.

Although the literature on relational aggression among emerging adults has advanced considerably over the last couple decades, surprisingly little is known about the role of culture in general and the nature of relational aggression among LGBT persons in particular. Daniel's dissertation, Hypermasculine, antifeminine: The role of masculine identity in relational aggression among gay men, examined relational aggression and victimization among gay men using Exclusively Masculine Identity Theory (EMIT; Killanski, 2003). Daniel's study utilized structural equation modeling to test models derived from EMIT in an effort to learn more about the possible role of adherence to masculine ideology and sex stereotypically.

The men who participated in Daniel's study differed from those described in some of the previously published research in terms of the masculine and feminine traits they considered desirable. Contrary to what we expected, participants with an exclusively masculine identity (i.e., those who had a more masculine ideal self and a more feminine undesired self) reported lower rates of relational aggression. Thus, while EMIT was useful in predicting relational aggression, the direction of the relationship was not what was anticipated. Daniel's results also suggest that certain domains of masculine ideology may be more useful in predicting relational aggression and victimization than the full EMIT model.

Daniel is currently completing his predoctoral internship at the University of Memphis Counseling Center in Memphis, TN.

Congratulations, Daniel!
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Seeking Gay Male College Students to Complete Online Survey

internet research
Daniel Deason, a doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology Program at the University of Southern Mississippi, is seeking participants for his dissertation research. Specifically, he is hoping to recruit gay-identifying men currently enrolled in college.

Daniel's dissertation focuses on gay men's experiences of social aggression within the gay community and gender presentation (i.e., masculinity, femininity). Essentially, his study addresses experiences of marginalization within an already marginalized population. Participation consists of completing an online survey that should take between 15 and 30 minutes and has been approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the University of Southern Mississippi. Participation is voluntary, anonymous, and can be terminated at any time.

For each participant who completes the survey, Daniel plans to donate $1 to the Trevor Project, a suicide hotline for LGBTQ+ youth and young adults.

To participate, please go to the following hyperlink to access the consent form and online survey: http://thegaystudy.org

Please consider sharing this post with any individuals or relevant groups (e.g., Gay-Straight Alliances) you know who may be interested in participating.
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Daniel Deason Proposes Dissertation

Daniel Deason, an advanced doctoral student who will be applying for a predoctoral internship this year, successfully proposed his dissertation yesterday. He will soon be able to begin his data collection.

Despite evidence that relationally aggressive behaviors can cause problems for emerging adults, little is known about the nature of relational aggression among persons who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). Daniel's dissertation, Hypermasculine, antifeminine: The role of masculine identity in relational aggression among gay men, will examine relational aggression and victimization in the peer relationships of gay men using Exclusively Masculine Identity Theory (EMIT; Kilianski, 2003). Specifically, he aims to test a model derived from EMIT in which adherence to masculine ideology is examined as a potential moderator of the predicted relationship between an index of participants' sex stereotypically and their report of relational aggression and victimization.

Congratulations to Daniel on presenting a complex proposal so clearly!
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Relational Aggression in College Students

aggression
Relational aggression is a form of aggressive behavior in which the aggressor harms others by deliberately manipulating, damaging, or threatening to damage their relationships, feelings of acceptance or inclusion, and/or social status (Crick & Grotpeter, 1995; Werner & Crick, 1999). The destructive nature of relational aggression among children and early adolescents has been established for some time, but relatively little was known about relational aggression in older adolescents and emerging adults until recently.

Research conducted at the
Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab has focused on contributing to the growing literature on relational aggression in college students. Below is a summary of three recent studies conducted at the lab.

1.
Czar, Dahlen, Bullock, and Nicholson (2011) explored the potential role of psychopathic personality traits in relational aggression among college students. Both primary and secondary psychopathic traits predicted relational aggression, and these relationships did not vary by gender. This suggests that psychopathic traits (e.g., a lack of empathy or remorse, dishonesty, impulsivity, antisocial behavior), known to predict overt aggression, may also be relevant to understanding relational aggression.

2.
Prather, Dahlen, Nicholson, and Bullock-Yowell (2012) found that male and female college students reported engaging in similar levels of relational aggression in their dating relationships. Students with traditional (as opposed to egalitarian) sex role attitudes were more likely to engage in dating relational aggression, regardless of gender. In addition, the acceptance of couple violence predicted dating relational aggression over and above trait anger and sex role attitudes. Taken together, the results suggest that college students who experience more frequent and intense anger than their peers, hold traditional sex role attitudes, and are more accepting of intimate partner violence are more likely to commit acts of relational aggression in their dating relationships.

3.
Dahlen, Czar, Prather, and Dyess (2013) found that college students who described themselves as more relationally aggression reported higher levels of anxiety, depression, anger, loneliness, academic burnout, and the misuse of alcohol. The correlates of relational victimization were similar, suggesting that both relational aggression and victimization can be disruptive to college students' social and emotional functioning. Dahlen and colleagues (2013) also found that anxiety, trait anger, and personal problems related to alcohol use predicted relational aggression in peer relationships while taking students' gender, race, and experiences with relational victimization into account.
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Predictors of Binge Eating in College Women

Emily Prather proposed her dissertation today, Predictors of Binge Eating in College Women. She did a great job with her proposal, and her dissertation committee approved her plan.

Emily's study aims to clarify the possible roles of trait anger, anger suppression, impulsivity, and emotion regulation in binge eating among college women. Data collection will begin in the fall. It is hoped that her study will inform our understanding of binge eating.
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Paper on Relational Aggression in College Students Soon to be Published

A paper authored by Eric R. Dahlen, Katherine A. Czar, Emily Prather, and Christy Dyess will soon be published in the Journal of College Student Development. The paper, "Relational aggression and victimization in college students," has been in press for some time, and it will be nice to see it appear in print.

The brief abstract for the paper is below:
For this study we explored relational aggression and victimization in a college sample (N = 307), examining potential gender and race differences, correlates, and the link between relational aggression and common emotional and behavioral problems, independent of relational victimization. Gender and race differences were observed on relational aggression and victimization. Relational aggression in peer and intimate relationships was positively correlated with depression, anxiety, stress, anger, and alcohol problems. Independent of gender, race, and relational victimization, peer relational aggression was predicted by anxiety, trait anger, and personal problems related to alcohol use.
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Poster Accepted for APA

A poster based on Emily Prather's thesis has been accepted by the Society of Counseling Psychology (Division 17) for the 2012 convention of the American Psychological Association in Orlando, FL. The poster, titled "Relational Aggression in College Students' Dating Relationships," will report on respondent gender, sex role attitudes, acceptance of couple violence, and trait anger in the context of relational aggression in students' romantic partnerships.

Congratulations to Emily!
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Kate Defends Dissertation on Regional Differences in Relational Aggression

Kate Czar successfully defended her dissertation yesterday. Her study, Regional Differences in Relational Aggression: The Role of Culture, compared college students from two regions of the U.S. (one northern and one southern) on relational aggression, gender role attitudes, and normative beliefs about aggression. Southern participants were more likely to report engaging in relationally aggressive behaviors and endorsed more traditional gender roles than did northern participants. Apart from the regional differences, gender role attitudes were associated with relational aggression in that participants holding more traditional gender role attitudes were more likely to report behaving in relationally aggressive ways. Independent of physical aggressiveness, gender role attitudes predicted relational aggression among women.

Congratulations to Kate on an excellent defense!
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Kate's Dissertation Defense Set for October

Kate Czar has scheduled her dissertation defense for October 19th. Her dissertation, Regional Differences in Relational Aggression: The Role of Culture, compared college undergraduates from two universities (one located in Pennsylvania and one in Mississippi) on measures of aggression, gender role attitudes, and normative beliefs about aggression.

Southern participants reported more general/peer and romantic relational aggression and more traditional gender role attitudes than did Northern participants. Gender role attitudes were associated with relational aggression in that more traditional gender roles were positively correlated with relational aggression. Beliefs about the acceptability of relational aggression did not differ by region.
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What is Relational Aggression?

relational aggression
Relational aggression refers to a set of behaviors through which the aggressor harms others by adversely affecting their social relationships, reputation, and/or feelings of inclusion or belonging (Crick et al., 1999; Linder, Crick, & Collins, 2002). Common examples include spreading malicious rumors and gossip, social exclusion, and public embarrassment.

Psychologists have been studying relational aggression since the mid-1990s, and it has long been recognized as a problem by many parents of school-aged children. However, it took the 2004 film Mean Girls to bring relational aggression to the attention of the larger public. Since then, the costs of relational aggression among children and early adolescents have become increasingly clear. Victims are more likely to suffer from a variety of psychological problems, including anxiety and depression; both victims and aggressors are more likely to misuse substances and engage in a number of delinquent behaviors (Archer & Coyne, 2005; Sullivan, Farrell, & Kliewer, 2006).

Surprisingly little is known about relational aggression among older adolescents and adults, but this is slowly starting to change. Research is underway to investigate the nature of relationally aggressive behaviors among college students. One of the interesting findings to emerge so far is that the gender difference observed among children and younger adolescents (i.e., relational aggression is more common among girls) does not appear to be present.
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Gender and Sex Role Egalitarianism in Dating Relational Aggression

Emily Prather, a third year doctoral student working in the lab, defended her thesis today. Emily's thesis was titled Sex Role Egalitarianism and Relational Aggression in Intimate Partnerships.

Surprisingly little is known about relational aggression among college students. Emily's thesis explored the role of sex role egalitarianism, gender, and acceptance of couple violence in college students' dating relationships. She found that acceptance of couple violence predicted the perpetration of relational aggression, independent of trait anger and sex role egalitarianism. Although both respondent gender and sex role egalitarianism predicted relational aggression, there was no evidence that gender moderated the relationship between sex role egalitarianism and relational aggression. For both male and female students, more traditional (i.e., less egalitarian) sex role attitudes were associated with a greater tendency to engage in relationally aggressive behaviors.
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Psychopathic Traits in Relational Aggression Among College Students

We recently had a manuscript accepted for publication in Aggressive Behavior based on Kate Czar's master's thesis:

Czar, K. A., Dahlen, E. R., Bullock-Yowell, E., & Nicholson, B. C. (in press). Psychopathic personality traits in relational aggression among young adults. Aggressive Behavior.

The paper addresses the potential role of psychopathic personality traits in relational aggression among college students. Findings showed that psychopathic personality traits predicted peer and romantic relational aggression, even when controlling for physical aggressiveness. Neither the frequency with which relationally aggressive behaviors were reported nor the link between psychopathic traits and relational aggression differed by participant gender.

Kate is an advanced doctoral student working in the lab, and we are proud of her efforts. She proposed her dissertation recently and will begin collecting data soon.
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