Date of Award

Spring 5-2015

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Eric R. Dahlen

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Michael Madson

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Emily Bullock-Yowell

Committee Member 3 Department



Relational aggression involves the intentional infliction of harm via damaging one’s relationships or sense of belonging. Previous research suggests that relational aggression among children and early adolescents is correlated with social ostracism, poor psychological adjustment, anxiety, and depression in victims, and there is increasing evidence that many of these correlates apply to relational aggression among older adolescents and emerging adults. Efforts to identify predictors of relational aggression are underway; however, many variables which have been influential in understanding other forms of aggression have not yet been examined. The Five Factor Model (FFM) of personality is one example, as it has been identified as a solid predictor of overt physical aggression but has not been adequately examined in the context of peer and romantic relational aggression. This study aimed to assess how the FFM constructs, along with social anxiety and rejection sensitivity, function as predictors of relational aggression among college students. Hierarchical multiple regression were used to test hypotheses about the predictive utility of the FFM and whether the addition of social anxiety and/or rejection sensitivity offers incremental validity beyond the FFM in the prediction of general/peer and romantic relational aggression. Emotional stability emerged as predictors for both peer/general and romantic relational aggression, while Agreeableness only predicted peer/general relational aggression. Social anxiety was found to predict.

Doctoral dissertation: