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Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Terri N. Sullivan


This study examined associations between attachment styles, relational aggression and victimization, and sexual behavior in the context of romantic relationships during emerging adulthood. The sample included 306 college students attending an urban university in the southeastern United States. Multiple regression analyses indicated that individuals with dismissive and fearful attachment reported higher levels of relational aggression, and individuals with fearful and preoccupied attachment reported higher rates of relational victimization as compared to those with secure attachment. Neither relational aggression nor relational victimization accounted for a significant portion of the variance in sexual behaviors. However, significant three-way interactions were found that indicated dismissive and secure attachment style, as compared to other attachment styles, moderated associations between relational victimization and sexual behavior and that the strength of these relations differed by gender. These findings highlight the complexity of these interrelations and have important implications for prevention and intervention efforts.


Part of Retrospective ETD Collection, restricted to VCU only.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008