Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)




Constance Pilkington

Committee Members

Catherine A. Forestell

Robert Trent Vinson


The purpose of the current study was to examine aggression in romantic couples exposed to different power levels and different patterns of provocation. Participants in positions of high or low power were faced with one of four levels of provocation: Low, Decreasing, Increasing, and High. The amount of "bad juice" a participant was given to drink was used as the manipulation of provocation and the amount of "bad juice" a participant poured for his or her partner was used as the measure of retaliatory aggression. Seventy-nine couples completed multiple trials of drinking and allotting this juice for their partners. A 2 (sex) x 2 (power) x 4 (provocation) x 5 (trial) repeated measures ANCOVA and follow up post-hoc analyses indicated that, overall, participants responded to the provocation condition they were in: participants who received high amounts of provocation retaliated with higher levels of aggression and participants in the low provocation condition responded with lower levels of aggression. Participants in the High Power group poured a larger mean number of ounces of bad juice than participants in the Low Power group; however, participants in the Low Power group poured a greater percentage of juice for their partners than participants in the High Power condition. Men and women displayed similar levels of aggressive behavior, though differences emerged in interaction effects. Implications of these and other findings, as well as methodological limitations and directions for future research are discussed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Thesis is part of Honors ETD pilot project, 2008-2013. Migrated from Dspace in 2016.

On-Campus Access Only