Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Malecki, Christine K.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Personality psychology; Developmental psychology; Teacher education; Teachers--Middle West--Psychology; Classroom management--Middle West--Psychology; School discipline--Middle West--Psychology


The current study investigated the associations between teacher personality and pupil control ideology and the way in which these variables impact the methods used by Midwestern teachers (n=123) to respond to and intervene in hypothetical instances of relational aggression, presented via vignette. Regression analyses indicated that aspects of both teacher personality traits (measured on the Big Five Inventory) and pupil control orientation (measured by the Pupil Control Inventory) were significantly linked to the ways that a teacher would choose to respond to acts of relational aggression committed by students in the school. Specifically, Agreeableness was associated with working with the bully, enlisting other adults, and disciplining the bully, while a teacher's level of Conscientiousness was associated with the likelihood of enlisting other adults, but only when the students involved were female. A custodial orientation to pupil control was associated with a higher likelihood of working with the victim, disciplining the bully, and ignoring the incident. Differences were also found in the relative influence of personality traits versus pupil control orientation on the likelihood of employing each of the response styles indicated. It is important that follow-up studies be conducted with a larger, more diverse sample to examine these effects as well as looking at differences in teacher response for cross-gender aggression. Implications for the results of this study are discussed.


Advisors: Christine Malecki.||Committee members: Vicki Collins; Michelle Demaray; Nina Mounts; Julia Ogg; Kelly Summers.


126 pages




Northern Illinois University

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