Date of Award

Fall 2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Committee Director

Cathy Lau-Barraco

Committee Member

Michelle L. Kelley

Committee Member

James Paulson

Committee Member

Scott Maggard

Abstract

Experimental demonstrations and theoretical developments have identified that the ability to control one’s own behavior (i.e., trait self-control, state self-regulation) may be particularly influential in the prediction of aggression and alcohol-related aggression. The research investigating alcohol-related aggression, however, has neglected a large body of research focused on state variation of self-regulation. Consequently, the current study aimed to use a daily diary methodology design to examine associations between daily alcohol use and aggressive behaviors (i.e., direct, indirect), as well as the influence of trait self-control and state self-regulation on these relationships. Participants were 105 (80% female) college student drinkers. Mean age was 23.81 (SD = 7.53) years. Students completed baseline questionnaires and up to 14 consecutive, daily surveys regarding the prior days’ exertion of self-regulation, alcohol use, aggression, and alcohol-related aggression. Multilevel modeling results indicated that on days when participants experienced greater stress, and thus exerted greater self-regulation, they were less likely to consume alcohol and less likely to engage in indirect aggression. Further, the relationship between self-regulation and indirect aggression was stronger for individuals lower in trait self-control. Additionally, a priori exploratory analyses revealed that alcohol-related direct aggression was more likely to occur on days in which alcohol-related indirect aggression occurred, supporting a co-occurrence of alcohol-related aggressive behaviors. Importantly, this association was found above the influence of baseline alcohol consumption, trait self-control, and dispositional aggression. Self-regulation also was found to be associated with the likelihood of alcohol-related direct and alcohol-related indirect aggression such that on days when participants exerted greater self-regulation, they were less likely to engage in aggression after consuming alcohol. Study findings support recent literature refuting the ego depletion effect. Future research is necessary to examine individual-level difference variables that may be influencing the effect of stress on self-regulation and examined outcomes.

ISBN

9781369537062

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