Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Committee Chair

Genevieve Arnaut


A qualitative study focusing on causes of relational aggression in high school female adolescents was conducted. Through qualitative analysis of structured interviews girls discussed multiple reasons for using relationally aggressive behaviors, including conflict avoidance, emotion management, competition, social order/norm setting, and the need for belonging. Secondary questions about relational aggression were also explored, including what were believed to be effective and ineffective strategies for handling such behaviors. Additionally, participants were asked to discuss both positive and negative consequences of participating in relational aggression, whether as an initiator or recipient. Out of these data a model for understanding and coping with relational aggression was developed.