Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Chris S. Dula

Committee Members

Jill Stinson, Stacey Williams, Jon R. Webb


Previous research supports the idea that individuals high in trait anger tend to experience more hostile attribution bias. According to the Integrative Cognitive Model, cognitive factors, such as rumination, may increase the risk of hostile attribution bias and any subsequent aggressive behaviors. Sex differences are apparent in rumination and anger expression. The present research explored the potential role trait rumination plays in hostile attribution bias as well as potential conditional effects of sex on this relationship. Participants were asked to complete a number of self-report measures and vignettes of ambiguously hostile situations adapted to improve reliability. Hypotheses were largely supported and trait anger rumination was significantly predictive of hostile attribution bias; however, conditional effects of sex were non-significant. The adapted hostile attribution bias measure had improved reliability and may have utility for a survey-based method to assessing hostile attribution bias. Findings may further our understanding of hostile interpretations and potential for subsequent aggressive behaviors in high trait ruminators in ambiguous situations as well as lead to potential areas of intervention to reduce anger and anger rumination.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Copyright by the authors.