Director: Eric R. Dahlen, Ph.D.
Here’s the abstract from the upcoming paper:
The citation is as follows:
Relational aggression has been linked to many forms of psychological maladjustment. Identifying the personality traits associated with the perpetration of relational aggression offers promise in improving our ability to understand, prevent, and treat relationally aggressive behaviors. Much of the research to date has utilized the Five Factor Model; however, the HEXACO model of personality (Ashton et al., 2004) may offer some advantages in studying aggression. Moreover, the manipulative and often covert nature of relational aggression suggests that the Dark Triad personality traits are likely to be relevant. This study explored the utility of the HEXACO model and Dark Triad in predicting relational aggression in college students’ (N = 442) peer relationships. Honesty-Humility, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness predicted proactive and reactive relational aggression, and Emotionality also predicted reactive relational aggression. Pathological narcissism and psychopathy predicted proactive and reactive relational aggression while taking respondent gender and the full HEXACO model into account, with vulnerable narcissism and psychopathy serving as positive predictors and grandiose narcissism serving as a negative predictor. Findings support the utility of both the HEXACO and Dark Triad models in understanding peer relational aggression among emerging adults.
Knight, N. M., Dahlen, E. R., Bullock-Yowell, E., & Madson, M. B. (in press). The HEXACO model of personality and Dark Triad in relational aggression. Personality and Individual Differences.
There is reason to believe that social and emotional intelligence are positive predictors of relational aggression, and some have suggested that certain levels of these forms of intelligence might be necessary for relational aggression to occur (or at least to be successful). At the same time, there is no reason to think that social or emotional intelligence would be sufficient to produce relational aggression. Thus, we plan to examine the degree to which psychopathic traits might inform our understanding of this relationship.
Congratulations to Savannah on a successful thesis proposal!
Growing up in a military home, Amber moved around a lot. She started her post-secondary studies at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. At the end of this two-year program, she received an Associate of Arts in preparatory science and transferred to the University Southern Mississippi in 2016. She wanted to carry on the tradition of her father and brothers and also stay close to home.
Over the summer, Amber presented a poster on jealously and relationship satisfaction in romantic relationships at the MSU research symposium. Currently, she enjoys working with the Dark Triad in the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab. Looking forward, Amber wants to learn more about child psychology and child development research.
Amber hopes to attend to graduate school at the master’s level in counseling or clinical psychology. She is currently engaging in the process of learning more about graduate school programs. She says that the process has been straightforward but challenging. She is actively seeking advice from professors and has found a variety of helpful responses. She is actively working on graduate school applications, GRE, letters of recommendations, and trying to find programs that fit with her interests. Ultimately, Amber is interested in a career as a therapist with the hope of owning her own practice. During her free time, she enjoys baking and reading science fiction/thriller novels.
- Post contributed by Adijah Battle
Their work led to a poster presentation at Mississippi State University’s Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium (poster available here as a .pdf file). Both Amber and Philip were able to attend the symposium at Mississippi State and found it to be a positive experience. Congratulations to both on their success.
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!
Congratulations to Morgan on her admission to the master’s program! We are looking forward to working with you.
The Dark Triad refers to three overlapping but distinct personality traits associated with a variety of antisocial and morally transgressive behaviors: psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavelianism (Paulhus & Williams, 2002). Considered together, these traits involve emotional coldness, a lack of empathy, the desire for personal advancement at the expense of healthy relationships, grandiosity, and a willingness to manipulate others (Jonason, Lyons, Bethell, & Ross, 2013). Although there are well-known clinical manifestations of psychopathy and narcissism, work on the Dark Triad has emphasized the goal of understanding the subclinical forms of these traits found throughout the population (Furnham, Richards, & Paulhus, 2013). That is, most of the Dark Triad research seeks to understand the dark personalities we encounter in our daily lives.
Psychopathy describes a specific constellation of affective, interpersonal, lifestyle, and behavioral characteristics. These include impulsivity; callous affect; poor reliability in performing various roles; a lack of remorse, empathy, or guilt; and a tendency toward rule violation (Hare, 2003; Jones & Paulhus, 2014). Although psychopathy is associated with criminality and violence (Hare & Neumann, 2009) and is considered to be the most dangerous of the Dark Triad traits, its utility is not restricted to criminal and forensic contexts. For example, subclinical psychopathy predicts a variety of behaviors that are not necessarily criminal (e.g., academic dishonesty, relational aggression, cyber aggression, substance misuse) but still likely to be of interest (Kokkinos, Antoniadou, & Markos, 2014; Williams, Paulhus, & Hare, 2007).
Much like the clinical version (i.e., Narcissistic Personality Disorder), subclinical narcissism involves grandiosity, as well as entitlement and a sense of superiority; however, this grandiose narcissism is only one part of the construct. Another important aspect involves narcissistic vulnerability, which refers to a vulnerable self-concept and efforts at self-enhancement (Morf & Rodenwalt, 2001). While grandiose narcissism tends to be emphasized in much of the Dark Triad literature, vulnerable narcissism appears to be relevant in many areas of emotional and interpersonal functioning. Subclinical narcissism has been linked to aggression (Bushman & Baumeister, 1998), online antisocial behavior (Carpenter, 2012), and a number of other variables of interest.
Machiavellianism is probably the least understood of the Dark Triad traits. It refers to a manipulative interpersonal style named for Niccolò Machiavelli (Christie & Geis, 1970). In The Prince (1513), Machiavelli described several behaviors most of us would regard as immoral (e.g., lying, deceit, and even murder) as effective strategies for a ruler to maintain power. Machiavellianism is perhaps best characterized as the perspective that the ends justify the means. People high in Machiavellian traits are described as cynical on morality, focused on personal gain, and willing to manipulate and exploit others to achieve their goals (Jones & Paulhus, 2009). Machiavellian personality traits have been linked to online relational aggression (Abell & Brewer, 2014) and a number of other antisocial behaviors.
At the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab, our primary interest with regard to the Dark Triad traits involves their role in nonclinical populations (i.e., individuals in the community who are not currently receiving treatment for diagnosed personality disorders or other mental health problems) of emerging adults. That is, we are interested in how individual differences in scores on subclinical measures of Dark Triad traits relate to a variety of socially undesirable behaviors (e.g., overt and relational aggression, cyber aggression, dysfunctional anger expression, jealousy, academic dishonesty, aggressive driving) among young adults.
Abell, L., & Brewer, G. (2014). Machiavellianism, self-monitoring, self-promotion and relational aggression on Facebook. Computers in Human Behavior, 36, 258-262.
Bushman, B. J. & Baumeister, R. F. (1998). Threatened egotism, narcissism, self-esteem, and direct and displaced aggression: Does self-love or self-hate lead to violence? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 219-229.
Carpenter, C. J. (2012). Narcissism on Facebook: Self-promotional and anti-social behavior. Personality and Individual Differences, 52, 482-486.
Christie R. & Geis F. L. (1970). Studies in Machiavellianism. New York: Academic Press.
Furnham, A., Richards, S. C., & Paulhus, D. L. (2013). The dark triad of personality: A 10 year review. Social and Personality Compass, 7, 199-216.
Hare, R. D. (2003). Manual for the Revised Psychopathy Checklist (2nd Edition). Toronto, ON, Canada: Multi-Health Systems.
Hare, R. D., & Neumann, C. S. (2009). Psychopathy: Assessment and forensic implications. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 54, 791-802.
Jonason, P. K., Lyons, M., Bethell, E. J., & Ross, R. (2013). Different routes to limited empathy in the sexes: Examining the links between the Dark Triad and empathy. Personality and Individual Differences, 54, 572-576.
Jones, D. N., & Paulhus, D. L. (2014). Introducing the Short Dark Triad (SD3): A brief measure of dark personality traits. Assessment, 21, 28-41.
Jones, D.N., & Paulhus, D. L. (2009). Machiavellianism. In M.R. Leary & R.H. Hoyle (Eds.), Handbook of individual differences in social behavior. New York: Guilford.
Kokkinos, C. M., Antoniadou, N., & Markos, A. (2014). Cyber-bullying: An investigation of the psychological profile of university student participants. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 35, 204-214.
Morf, C. C. & Rhodewalt, F. (2001). Unraveling the paradoxes of narcissism: a dynamic self-regulatory processing model. Psychological Inquiry, 12, 4, 177-196.
Paulhus, D. L., & Williams, K. (2002). The Dark Triad of personality: Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. Journal of Research in Personality, 36, 556-568.
Williams, K. M., Paulhus, D. L. & Hare, R. D. (2007). Capturing the four-factor structure of psychopathy in college students via self-report. Journal of Personality Assessment, 88, 205-219.
In spite of the increased interest received by relational aggression among emerging adults, the lack of psychometrically sound measures appropriate for this age range continues to be an important barrier. Caitlin’s dissertation, Validation of the Young Adult Relational Aggression Scale (YARAS), attempted to confirm the hypothesized factor structure of a new measure as well as assess its reliability and validity in a college student sample.
Although she was able to identify a suitable factor structure, doing so required her to correlate several items and meant that the predicted structure could not technically be confirmed (i.e., the confirmatory procedures became exploratory). Nevertheless, we learned a great deal about the construct and the new measure that should inform future work aimed at refining the measure.
Congratulations to Caitlin on completing this important milestone!
Caitlin is currently completing her predoctoral internship at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System in Florida and has accepted a postdoctoral fellowship next year at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston.
As an undergraduate, Skylar was involved in two different research labs. The Stress Physiology in Teens (SPIT) Laboratory led her to examine the interplay between stress exposure, biological trajectories, and adolescent development in understanding why certain individuals develop psychopathology. Her time with the Youth Social and Emotional Development Laboratory was spent identifying social, emotional, and cognitive factors related to the development and maintenance of aggressive behavior in youth.
She applied to Southern Miss because the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab overlapped with her research interests in aggression. Skylar recently proposed her master’s thesis, The Role of Emotion Regulation in the Relationship between Trait Anger and Aggression, and is currently collecting data. She hopes to research other forms of aggression, such as sexual aggression. Skylar’s career interests include working in a maximum-security prison, as well as a psychiatric unit or major hospital.
When asked for advice concerning potential future applicants to our program, Skylar mentioned the importance of gaining research experience, as it can be helpful in defining a career path and in assessing which graduate programs best align with one’s personal research interests.
One of the challenges in this area of research involves the lack of consensus in how electronic aggression (aka, cyber aggression, cyberbullying) should be defined and measured (Berne et al., 2013). Taylor is using what appears to be one of the better self-report measures available for emerging adults, the Cyberbullying Experiences Survey (Doane et al., 2013). We anticipate that her findings will provide useful information about the relationship between electronic aggression and offline relational aggression and between various dark personality traits and electronic aggression.
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.
As an undergraduate, Savannah was involved in social and evolutionary psychology research. This resulted in her role as the second author of a 2016 paper published in Personality and Individual Differences. The paper, "Social and emotional intelligence moderate the relationship between psychopathy traits and social perception," reflects Savannah's interests in dark personality traits and social/emotional intelligence. These interests led her to apply to the doctoral program in Counseling Psychology at Southern Miss to work in the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab.
Savannah plans to continue studying psychopathic personality traits and social/emotional intelligence for her master's thesis, exploring their role in relational aggression. One advantage of her previous work in this area is that she already has a solid understanding of the variables and some great ideas about how best to assess them. This has allowed her to get a quick start on her thesis project. Savannah's plans for the future involve a career in academia where she can continue to conduct research.
When asked about any advice she might have for future applicants to our program, Savannah stressed the importance of knowing the research interests of potential faculty advisors, noting that this can help give one a better picture about where one would “fit” as a graduate student in the program. Very good advice!
As an undergraduate, Niki joined a research team focused on social behavior and sleep studies. She collaborated on several projects (e.g., laboratory-based sleep studies, measure development, and personality and social behavior research). She found that she particularly enjoyed research related to personality and behavior. This interest guided her in applying to doctoral programs and has carried over into her research as a graduate student at Southern Miss.
Niki started the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program in the Fall of 2013, at which time she joined the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab. Niki successfully defended her master's thesis, The Dark Triad and HEXACO Model of Personality in Relational Aggression, in October of 2015. She presented at the Mississippi Psychological Association (Relational Aggression Among Young Adults) and the Southeastern Psychological Association (The Dark Triad of Personality and Relational Aggression). Most recently, she successfully proposed her dissertation in September of 2016, Fear and Loathing in Peer Relationships: Indirect Aggression, Comparison-Based Traits, and Cognitive Vulnerabilities. She will begin data collection for this project soon.
Niki is in the process of applying for a predoctoral internship, which she hopes to complete at a VA Medical Center. Niki's long-term career goal is to become a VA psychologist, and she is particularly interested in the treatment of veterans with personality disorders, substance use disorders, and/or PTSD.
If emotion regulation moderates the relationship between anger and relational aggression, this may have implications for the treatment of relationally aggressive individuals. For example, such findings might indicate that anger management and other interventions aimed at improving emotion regulation could be beneficial for relationally aggressive young adults.
Skylar is a second-year doctoral student working in the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of New Orleans and entered the Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program in the Fall of 2015.
Congratulations to Skylar on the successful proposal!
Congratulations to Ashley on a successful proposal!
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.
With regard to the HEXACO model, the factors of Honesty-Humility and Agreeableness were positively associated with proactive and reactive relational aggression in peer relationships. Machiavellian, narcissistic, and psychopathic traits were positively associated with reactive relational aggression; narcissistic and psychopathic but not Machiavellian traits were positively associated with proactive relational aggression. Taken together, Niki's results supported the utility of both the HEXACO model and the Dark Triad constructs in predicting peer relational aggression among college students.
Niki is a doctoral student in her third year of the program and will soon begin work on her dissertation.
Congratulations to Niki on a successful defense!
Many of the existing measures one finds in the adult relational aggression literature were adapted from measures developed with children and early adolescents. Others were developed for use in individual studies and have little evidence of reliability or validity. Still others are difficult to obtain because they were never published, have different versions without clear instructions for use, or do not distinguish between the proactive and reactive functions of relational aggression. Our hope is that the YARAS will be able to improve upon these and other limitations of existing instruments.
Caitlin is an advanced doctoral student working in the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab who is in the process of applying for a predoctoral internship this year. With her successful dissertation proposal, she will soon be able to begin data collection.
Congratulations to Caitlin on completing this important milestone!
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!
Congratulations to Caitlin, Daniel, Niki, and Ashley on a job well done!
Skylar completed her bachelor's degree in psychology at the University of New Orleans, where she worked in Dr. Monica Marsee's Youth Social and Emotional Development Lab. She has been working as a research associate in the Department of Psychiatry at the LSU Health Sciences Center. Her interest and experience in overt and relational aggression make her an excellent fit for the lab.
Congratulations to Skylar on her admission! We are looking forward to working with you in Hattiesburg.
Clark, C. M., Dahlen, E. R., & Nicholson, B. C. (2015). The role of parenting in relational aggression and prosocial behavior among emerging adults. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 24, 185-202. doi: 10.1080/10926771.2015.1002653
Our new measure aims to assess general/peer relational aggression and romantic relation aggression on separate scales and to permit each type of relational aggression to be divided into proactive and reactive functions. For example, a relational aggressive behavior like spreading a malicious rumor about a friend behind his or her back could be proactive (i.e., unprovoked, planned, done for gain) or reactive (i.e., done out of anger or in response to provocation, unplanned, impulsive). We also included items designed to measure electronic forms of relational aggression, a dimension important to college students but not found in existing measures.
Instrument development is usually a length and complex endeavor. We started by conducting a literature review in order to make sure we had a clear definition of relational aggression. We then developed an initial item set on the basis of focus groups with college students and a review of existing measures appropriate to either adolescents or adults. The focus groups were especially useful because they revealed some important limitations of existing measures and provided us with ideas for relevant content that had not occurred to us. After several rounds of revising items, we submitted our item set to several experts on relational aggression. We revised the item set again based on the input of the expert reviewers. Now we are close to completing the step of administering the new items along with a few existing measures of relational aggression and related constructs to a large sample of college students. This will allow us to examine the factor structure of the item set, reduce the number of items while maximizing reliability, and examine the concurrent and discriminant validity of the resulting measure.
While we hope to complete this phase of the project this semester, many additional steps will remain. In fact, we are planning for the next few steps to be carried out as Caitlin Clark's dissertation. We will be at this project for awhile, but we hope to end up with a measure that has some useful advantages over the option currently available.
For those researchers just beginning to consider incorporating methods for identifying careless responders and reducing careless responding in online survey research, some of the procedures we have been using include:
- Modifying consent forms and survey instructions to inform potential participants that quality assurance checks are being used and that failing such checks will result in them not receiving incentives for participation
- Including validity items or bogus items that should be answered the same way by participants who are attending to item content
- Measuring survey completion and/or individual instrument completion time
We have noticed that it is becoming increasingly common for authors of studies using online surveys to address how they detected careless responders and what they did with these data. This suggests that the use of such procedures are rapidly becoming part of routine practice to promote data integrity.
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.
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).
The paper, titled "The role of parenting in relational aggression and prosocial behavior among emerging adults," continues the lab's research on relational aggression in college students. Results indicated that students' retrospective ratings of how they were parented were related to both relational aggression and prosocial behavior. Authoritative parenting, permissive parenting, and parental psychological control predicted relational aggression. Authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive parenting predicted prosocial behavior, and participant race moderated the relationship between psychological control and prosocial behavior (i.e., parental psychological control was inversely related to prosocial behavior for Black students but not for White students).
Niki's thesis will examine the relationships between the constructs represented by the HEXACO personality model and relational aggression in college students, focusing on the role of Honesty-Humility and Agreeableness. Additionally, she will assess the predictive utility of the Dark Triad constructs (i.e., narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy) in predicting proactive and reactive relational aggression.
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.
Ashley is completing her bachelor's degree in psychology at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, Indiana. Her interests in relational aggression and anger make her a good fit for the lab.
Congratulations, Ashley! We are looking forward to working with you.
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.
Caitlin will enter the doctoral program in the Fall and plans to continue her work on aggression.
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.
David Boudreaux, a third-year doctoral student working in the lab, co-authored a paper with Deirdre Paulson and Dr. Melanie Leuty, How Do Anger and Culture Affect Mental Health Practice? Deirdre is a second-year doctoral student working in Dr. Leuty's Work & Occupations Research Collaboration Team.
Congratulations to Michelle on having the poster and presentation accepted!
On February 29, 2012, Emily Prather, David Boudreaux, and Caitlin Clark will present “Understanding Anger and Relational Aggression” at 6:30 PM on the University of Southern Mississippi’s Hattiesburg campus.
Learn about the difference between healthy and unhealthy anger, brief strategies for managing anger effectively, and when to seek help for yourself or a loved one. The presenters will also address relational aggression, a behavior associated with bullying in which the aggressor harms the victim’s reputation, status, or feelings of belonging through social exclusion, gossip, etc.). Learn about its relation to anger and its importance in the psychological well-being of adolescents and young adults.
The presentation will be held in Room 109 of Owings-McQuagge Hall. It is free and open to the public.
Congratulations to Emily!
An additional next step we hope to tackle involves determining whether the predicted relationships between adult attachment and relational aggression persist independent of one's global personality traits (i.e., the "Big Five" personality factors). Another involves examining some of the variables which we suspect may moderate the relationship between attachment and relational aggression (e.g., anger, perceived social support, etc.).
Congratulations to Kate on an excellent defense!
Prather, E., Dahlen, E. R., Nicholson, B. C., & Bullock-Yowell, E. (in press). Relational aggression in college students’ dating relationships. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma.
Emily is an advanced doctoral student working in the lab. She is currently developing her dissertation proposal.
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.
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.
Michelle's dissertation, "A Psychometric Investigation of the Young Adult Social Behavior Scale (YASB)," was a confirmatory factor analysis and validation of a self-report measure of relational aggression suitable for college students. Greg's dissertation, "Increasing Readiness to Change Anger: A Motivational Group Intervention," involved a treatment study in which a brief motivational enhancement group was compared with a no-treatment control.
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.
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.
Although relational aggression has been widely studied among children and early adolescents, much less is known about it among older adolescents and adults. One particular area which has received little attention to date concerns the role of culture in relational aggression. Kate's dissertation, "Regional Differences in Relational Aggression: The Role of Culture," will focus on examining potential regional differences (i.e., North-South) in the U.S. Differing norms and expectations governing aggressive behavior, particularly among women, are expected to manifest themselves in different rates and perceptions of relational aggression. Relational aggression, normative beliefs about relational aggression, and gender role egalitarianism are among the variables which Kate will examine.