Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Member

Tamara Loverich

Committee Member

Carol R. Freedman-Doran

Committee Member

Thomas J. Waltz


In the absence of the ability to adaptively regulate one’s emotions, individuals may turn to impulsive and maladaptive methods of regulation, including engaging in aggressive behavior. Gratz and Roemer’s (2004) model of emotion regulation (Multidimensional assessment of emotion regulation and dysregulation: Development, factor structure, and initial validation of the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 26(1), 41-54) includes the dimensions of nonacceptance, difficulties engaging in goal-directed behavior, impulse control difficulties, lack of emotional awareness, access to emotion regulation strategies, and lack of emotional clarity. This study sought to identify the relations among these dimensions and the broader constructs of emotional experiencing (i.e., affect intensity), emotional awareness (i.e., mindfulness), emotional clarity, (i.e., alexithymia), acceptance of emotions (i.e., experiential avoidance), and overall emotion regulation skillfulness (i.e., difficulties in emotion regulation) and the relative contributions of each of these dimensions to aggression utilizing web-based surveys administered to a college student sample (n = 307). Affect intensity was not significantly related to emotion regulation or to aggression. Regression analyses indicated that experiential avoidance predicts overall aggression, physical aggression, verbal aggression, hostility, and anger. Difficulty with impulse control when distressed predicted overall aggression, physical aggression, and anger. Access to emotion regulation strategies predicted hostility. These findings suggest that experiential avoidance may have an important role in aggressive behaviors and could be an effective target for intervention.

Included in

Psychology Commons