College Professors' Perceptions of and Responses to Relational Aggression in College Students
Owens Fifield, Andrea
Type of Degreedissertation
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of selected factors on professors' responses to relational aggression in college students. Specifically, this study explored the relationships between professors' gender, class size, level of empathy, ratings of seriousness of a relationally aggressive scenario, the gender of the perpetrator and target in the aforementioned scenario, and professors' likelihood of intervention when the witness relational aggression in their classrooms. The sample included 40 female professors and 58 male professors recruited from a large, southeastern university. Participants were asked to complete three measures: a demographics questionnaire, the Relational Aggression Perception and Intervention Questionnaire, and the Balanced Emotional Empathy Scale (BEES). No relationship was found between professors' gender, class size, or the gender of the perpetrator and target in a relationally aggressive scenario and professors' likelihood of intervention. Bivariate correlations were found between professors' level of empathy and their likelihood of intervention, as well as between professors' ratings of seriousness of a relationally aggressive scenario and their likelihood of intervention. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis also revealed an interaction effect between professors' empathy and seriousness ratings and their likelihood of intervention. Implications of the results of this study are discussed, including recommendations for administration and faculty on college and university campuses.