Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Naomi M. Meara

Committee Members

Thomas W. George, Michael C. Hannum, Kenneth R. Newton


The purpose of this study was to compare black and white females' perceptions of verbal aggression. Eighty black and 80 white female participants read a short dialogue of two female college roommates engaged in a verbal interaction. One of these women was arbitrarily selected as the identified aggressor; the other, the target. Pilot studies had established that participants similar to those used in this study thought that the dialogue contained verbal aggression and that each of the persons was equally verbally aggressive. As the participants read the dialogue, they had access to drawings of the two women. The experimental conditions were manipulated to produce a 2 x 2 x 2 design: race of participant (black or white), race of aggressor (black or white), and race of target (black or white). The dependent measures of aggressiveness were three scales of the Interpersonal Behavior Survey (1980) and a combination of two scales from the Adjective Check List (1952). There was a main effect for race of participant, such that ratings of aggression made by white females were significantly higher than those made by black females. There were no main effects for either race of aggressor or race of target; and there were no interactions. Implications related to the socialization process of black and white females and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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