Date of Award

Fall 12-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department/Program

Forensic Psychology

Language

English

First Advisor

Diana M. Falkenbach

Second Reader

Maureen Allwood

Third Advisor

Sean Murphy

Abstract

Bullying is a concept mostly investigated in children, teenagers, and adults within the workplace. While there is research on bullying in college in general, gaps in the literature remain considering how personality characteristics in bullies relate directly to psychopathy and specific psychopathy traits. Although the literature suggests bullies have a tendency towards psychopathic traits such as violence, impulsivity, egocentricity, manipulativeness, rule-breaking, and intolerance, researchers have yet to assess the connection between college students who bully and psychopathy. The research on psychopathy suggests that those high on psychopathic traits may be more prone to use bullying as an apathetic means to acquire dominance and influence over others in accordance to self-interest and personal gain. The current study seeks to investigate the relationship between the factors and subscales of psychopathy using the Psychopathic Personality Inventory (PPI-R) with respect to bullying behaviors (i.e., cyber, verbal, and emotional/relational bullying) and status (i.e., bully, victim, and bystander) in a sample of university students. Scores on bullying items are expected to have a positive correlation with PPI-R total scores and scores on the three factors, whereas victim and bystander responses are expected to have negative correlations. In addition, verbal, emotional/relational, and cyber bullying responses are expected to be positively associated with the psychopathic subscales and the three factors. Overall, the results provide continued support for the existence of psychopathy variants in college samples. All bullying behavior subtypes were associated with the three factors of psychopathy. Being a victim and bystander was associated with Self-Centered Impulsivity. This study aims to raise awareness of bullying and subclinical psychopathy within college settings, as it offers statistical evidence of the two.

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