Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Albert Farrell, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Rosalie Corona, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Traci Wike, Ph.D.


There is convincing evidence that demonstrates traumatic stress and aggressive behavior are highly related among adolescents. The evidence is less clear regarding the direction of this relation. The purpose of this study was to examine the reciprocal longitudinal relations between physical aggression and traumatic stress among a predominantly African American sample of middle school students. Support was found for traumatic stress predicting increased levels of physical aggression across the winter to the spring of the sixth grade for boys and across all waves from the fall of the seventh grade to the fall of the eighth grade for both boys and girls. Conversely, physical aggression during the winter of the sixth grade predicted a decrease in traumatic stress in the spring of the sixth grade for both boys and girls. These findings suggest that interventions may need to incorporate skills that are aligned with trauma-informed care practices in order to reduce traumatic stress and physical aggression among adolescents.


© Erin L Thompson

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VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission