Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts In Clinical Psychology Degree



First Advisor

Goncy, Liz

Second Advisor

Ilya Yaroslavsky

Third Advisor

Shereen Naser


The association between experiencing parent-to-child aggression and later dating abuse (DA) in adolescence is well-supported by previous empirical findings and theoretical frameworks, including the intergenerational transmission of violence theory, social learning theory, and relationship continuity theory. Less is known about what underlies this association. Among a sample of high school students, this study tested the hypothesis that rejection sensitivity would mediate between parent-to-child aggression and adolescent DA. Additionally, this study hypothesized that greater self-regulation would buffer the association between rejection sensitivity and adolescent DA. Although rejection sensitivity did not independently mediate between parent-to-child aggression and DA, self-regulation interacted with rejection sensitivity in predicting DA. I found that among respondents with low levels of rejection sensitivity, self-regulatory deficits significantly predicted greater DA, whereas high rejection sensitivity scores were related to higher DA regardless of one’s self-regulation scores. These findings suggest that rejection sensitivity and self-regulation are closely related in their association with DA. Assessing for and addressing rejection sensitivity when increasing self-regulation is imperative for DA prevention and intervention.