Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Ernest Hodges

Second Advisor

Mark Terjesen

Third Advisor

Allison Jaeger


The effects of emotion dysregulation and inhibitory control on aggressogenic thought-behavior associations were investigated among 362 fifth- and sixth-grade boys (n = 195) and girls (n = 167) on Long Island, New York. Other-reported anger dysregulation and inhibitory control significantly qualified the relationship between all three cognitions (hostile attributions of intent, revenge goals in both ambiguous and unambiguous situations, and self-efficacy) and aggression. However, our predicted pattern for these 3-way interaction was supported only when the cognition involved self-efficacy—self-efficacy for aggression was most strongly associated with aggressive behavior under high levels of anger dysregulation and low levels of inhibitory control. In contrast, for the other three indexes of cognition, the strongest associations with aggression were obtained when children were low in anger dysregulation and high in inhibitory control (although aggression was also the lowest at these combinations). Associations between all cognitions (except for hostile attributions) and aggression were also qualified by (other-reported) depressed-affect dysregulation and inhibitory control. As expected, cognition-behavior associations were unrelated to aggression when children evidenced high levels of depressed-affect dysregulation and high levels of inhibitory control—this pattern was also associated with the lowest overall levels of aggression. These findings partially support prior theory and research asserting that behavior is the result of a complex interplay between emotion dysregulation, inhibitory control, and social cognitions. The present research highlights the importance of examining the interactions among these variables to inform interventions aimed to reduce aggressive behavior in schools.

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