Date of Award

Summer 2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

School

Psychology

Committee Chair

Dr. Eric Dahlen, Ph.D.

Committee Chair School

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Dr. Richard Mohn, Ph.D.

Committee Member 2 School

Education

Committee Member 3

Dr. Bonnie Nicholson, Ph.D.

Committee Member 3 School

Psychology

Committee Member 4

Dr. Michael Madson, Ph.D.

Committee Member 4 School

Psychology

Abstract

Most of the research on intimate partner violence has concentrated on overt physical and verbal aggression, and less is known about relational aggression in the framework of romantic relationships. Relational aggression is more prevalent in college students’ romantic relationships compared to physical aggression and may be a risk factor for intimate partner violence. Additionally, a number of adverse correlates have been associated with romantic relational aggression, suggesting that it is worthy of study independent of its association with intimate partner violence. The present study explored the relationships among adult attachment, romantic jealousy, mate value, relationship investment, and romantic relational aggression in a college student sample (N = 366). Participants completed self-report questionnaires assessing these variables online, and a moderated mediation model was tested using Hayes’ (2018) PROCESS macro for SPSS. As predicted, romantic jealousy mediated the relationship between attachment styles (both anxious and avoidant) and romantic relational aggression. Higher levels of mate value were predicted to weaken the relationship between attachment style (anxious and avoidant), romantic jealousy, and romantic relational aggression. Mate value did not moderate these mediated relationships as expected. In fact, the present findings showed that the effect of anxious attachment on romantic relational aggression through romantic jealousy was stronger for individuals with higher levels of mate value, and the effect of avoidant attachment on romantic relational aggression through romantic jealousy was stronger for individuals with average levels of mate value. Contrary to what was predicted, relationship investment did not moderate the mediated relationships at any level.

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