Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 2011


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



School Psychology


School of Education

Committee Chair

Tammy L. Hughes

Committee Member

Jeffrey A. Miller

Committee Member

Carol S. Parke


Adolescents, Aggression, Anxiety, Attachment, Children, Inhibition


There is rising concern among the general public regarding childhood aggression and its impact on society. This study sought to further the understanding of childhood aggression by examining the variables of anxiety and current attachment in an aggressive population of youth. There is a substantial body of research that relates poor attachment to aggressive-related behaviors (e.g., Allen, Hauser, Borman-Spurrell, 1996; Gacono & Meloy, 1994; Meesters & Muris, 2002; NICHD-ECCRN, 2006; Simons, Paternite, & Shore, 2001). In comparison to the research on the relationship between attachment and aggression in children and adolescents, the relationship between anxiety and aggression is more contradictory and inconsistent. High anxiety has been related to both increased aggression (e.g., Angold, Costello, & Erkanli, 1999; Ialongo, Edelsohn, Werthamer-Larsson, Crockett, & Kellam, 1996) and decreased aggression (e.g., Kerr, Tremblay, Pagani, & Vitaro, 1997; Sanson, Pelow, Cann, Prior, & Oberklaid, 1996) in youth. Inadequate anxiety has also been related to increased aggression (Gacono, Meloy, & Berg, 1992; Gacono & Meloy, 1994; Shaw, Gilliom, Ingoldsby, & Nagin, 2003). In this study, it was hypothesized that subjects with normal anxiety would have more positive attachment than subjects with high anxiety or inadequate anxiety. It was also hypothesized that subjects with high anxiety group would have more positive attachment than those with inadequate anxiety. Anxiety was measured by the Youth Self Report Anxiety Problems scale and an inadequate anxiety construct devised from certain items of the Youth Self Report. Attachment was measured by the number of Rorschach Texture (T) responses given and the Rorschach Human Representational Variable (HRV) score. Significant differences were not found between the anxiety groups in terms of the attachment variables measured. A significant limitation of this study was the low number of subjects. Results are reviewed in the context of existing literature and implications for future research are discussed.