Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Eric Dahlen

Advisor Department



Relational aggression is a form of aggressive behavior involving the intentional infliction of harm to the victim’s sense of belonging, reputation, or social relationships. Although most of the research on relational aggression has focused on children and early adolescents, there is evidence that it can be a serious problem for college students as well. Several predictors of relational aggression have been identified, but the mechanisms through which many of them operate is not sufficiently clear. The present study examined the relationship of vulnerable narcissism and difficulties in emotion regulation to relational aggression in a college student sample. It was expected that vulnerable narcissism would be positively related to relational aggression and that difficulties in emotion regulation would mediate this relationship. Undergraduate volunteers (N = 260) at the University of Southern Mississippi ranging in age from 18 to 25 completed self report measures of these variables as part of a larger online survey. Vulnerable narcissism was positively related to relational aggression, and difficulties in emotion regulation mediated this relationship. That is, participants higher in vulnerable narcissism reported more difficulties in emotion regulation, and difficulties in emotion regulation positively predicted relational aggression. These findings have implications for the study of relational aggression among college students.

Included in

Psychology Commons