Date of Award

12-2008

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Douglas W. Nangle

Second Committee Member

Cynthia A. Erdley

Third Committee Member

Michael Robbins

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine a model predicting dating aggression from behavior (e.g., aggression, prosocial behavior, social support, negative interactions) in dyadic and peer group contexts. A particular emphasis was on the contribution of aggression within same-sex friendships and the larger peer group to dating aggression. This study contributed to prior research by focusing on the construct of relational aggression and its role in this prediction. The study sample consisted of 136 adolescents in 10th and 12th grade. Information about the participant's behavior in the peer group, a friendship, and a dating relationship were collected from the participant, their peers, and a same-sex friend. Questionnaires assessed demographic information, physical and relational aggression in the peer group and friendship, prosocial behavior in the peer group, negative and positive qualities of the friendship and dating relationship, dating history, and dating aggression, including romantic relational aggression. Results of the analyses indicated that the overall model predicting dating aggression from peer and friendship aggression, prosocial behavior in the peer group, and positive and negative qualities in the friendship and dating relationship was significant. Further, unique predictors of dating aggression included self-rated friendship relational aggression and negative interactions in the dating relationship. In addition, models predicting overall dating aggression and romantic relational aggression from friendship or peer relational aggression (self and other-reported) were significant. These findings suggest that relational aggression in peer contexts has a role in predicting dating aggression.

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