Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Michelle L. Kelley
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.
Sheehan, Brynn Elizabeth, "A Daily Diary Investigation of Behavioral Disinhibition and Alcohol-related Aggression" (2016). Psychology Theses & Dissertations. 43.