Date of Award

8-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Deborah P. Welsh

Committee Members

Derek R. Hopko, Jennifer A. Morrow, Gregory L. Stuart, L. Christian Elledge

Abstract

The current studies develop a psychometric scale capable of measuring electronic aggression and perpetration within emerging adult romantic couples: the Partner Electronic Aggression Questionnaire (PEAQ). The scale is based in the body of literature examining aggression within social relationships, particularly aggression and intimate partner violence (IPV) occurring within established romantic relationships. Moreover, the scale was designed with the rationale that developing a psychometrically sound measure of electronic aggression will allow researchers to examine how electronic aggression may be related to IPV and psychosocial functioning for both victims and perpetrators. The present studies suggested that the PEAQ is an internally consistent and reliable scale capable of differentiating electronic aggression perpetration and victimization. Additionally, the studies demonstrated that the PEAQ consists of two factors including public and private electronic aggression. Private electronic aggression perpetration demonstrated convergent validity with psychological aggression perpetration, and public and private perpetration demonstrated discriminant validity with self-reported openness and negotiation. Findings also support that although associated, public and private electronic aggression may be differentially related to other forms of traditional aggression and indicators of psychosocial functioning. Electronic aggression is discussed as a construct that needs to be further investigated to more fully understand the context of aggression within romantic relationships. These findings and their implications, as well as directions for future research are discussed.

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