Date of Award

Fall 12-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Applied Developmental Psychology



Major Professor

Monica A. Marsee

Second Advisor

Paul J. Frick

Third Advisor

Carl F. Weems


Previous research has demonstrated an association between violence exposure and aggression; however, research exploring the association between violence exposure and the forms and functions of aggression is scarce. The aim of this study was to explore the associations between trauma exposure with both reactive and proactive functions of aggression by examining two potential mediators (e.g., psychopathic traits and emotional dysregulation). Participants included 132 male juvenile offenders mandated to treatment in a residential facility (M = 16.78 years old; SD = 1.25). Results indicate emotional dysregulation partially mediated the association between trauma exposure and reactive aggression while controlling for proactive aggression. However, no evidence was found to support the hypothesis that psychopathic traits mediated the association between trauma exposure and proactive aggression. Results suggest trauma exposure is important in the development of reactive aggression. Thus, treatment approaches for aggressive youth should address issues of trauma exposure.


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