Graduate Program

Clinical Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Wesley D. Allan


Researchers have long theorized that females may be as equally aggressive as males, but the form of aggression most frequently manifested by females may be nonphysical. This thinking lead to the examination of relational aggression, which is a type of aggression intended to harm others' peer relationships. Numerous studies over the last 20 years have examined relational aggression in children and the maladaptive behaviors associated with such aggression. However, far less is known about relational aggression in older students or young adults. Thus, this paper reviews the present literature on relational aggression in college students, focusing on three potential predictors (emotion dysregulation, impulsivity, and conduct problems). Seventy-eight undergraduate college students participated in this study. Two hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted; the first was to test whether emotion dysregulation predicted relational aggression while controlling for relevant variables, and the second was to test whether the impulse control difficulties Subscale of the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale predicted relation aggression while controlling for relevant variables. A gender difference in relational aggression behaviors was not found, in contrast to what is usually found in the child literature. lmpulsivity and conduct problems were found to positively predict relational aggression while controlling for gender. Emotion dysregulation did not contribute additive predictive value to relational aggression. However, impulse control emotion dysregulation difficulties positively predicted relational aggression, even after controlling for the other variables in the study.

Included in

Psychology Commons