Links between personality traits and school aggression and internalizing behaviors in African American early adolescents

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Child and Family Studies


Jaipaul L. Roopnarine


Personality, School aggression, Internalizing, Adolescents, African-American, Aggression

Subject Categories

African American Studies | Arts and Humanities | Developmental Psychology | Family, Life Course, and Society | Psychology | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


This study sought to analyze personality traits and their relationship to five behavioral outcomes in African American adolescents. A total of 133 African American early adolescents (mean age: 12.39 years) completed a set of questionnaires assessing the Big Five personality traits, school aggression (i.e. direct, indirect, and verbal aggression), internalizing behaviors, and academic performance. Factor analyses of personality items yielded three personality traits: Neuroticism, Agreeableness, and Openness/Positive Disposition. Neuroticism was positively associated with indirect aggression, verbal aggression, and internalizing behaviors and negatively associated with direct aggression. Openness/Positive Disposition and Agreeableness had negative associations with direct aggression and verbal aggression, respectively. Additionally, there were no significant gender differences on any measured outcome behaviors (i.e. three types of school aggression, internalizing behaviors, and academic performance). The unique factor structure of personality traits and lack of gender differences in this sample suggested that previously established patterns may not hold true across diverse ethnic groups in the United States.


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