Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type



Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Peter R. Giancola

Second Advisor

Dr. David T. R. Berry


The purpose of this investigation was twofold. First, to test the hypothesis that irritability and executive functioning (EF), two previously established risk factors for alcohol-related aggression, would interact to conjointly confer multiplicative risk for intoxicated violence that is not observed when testing either variable alone. Second, to test the hypothesis that irritability would mediate the relation between EF and alcohol-related aggression. EF was measured using seven well-established neuropsychological tests. Irritability was measured using the Caprara Irritability Scale-CIS. Participants were 310 male and female social drinkers between the ages of 21 – 35 years old. After consuming an alcohol or placebo beverage, participants were tested on a laboratory aggression task in which electric shock are given to and received from a fictitious opponent under the guise of a competitive reaction time task. Aggression was operationalized as shock intensities administered to the fictitious opponent. Results indicated that irritability successfully mediated the relation between EF and intoxicated aggression for men only. No support was found to suggest that EF and irritability together confer multiplicative risk for intoxicated aggression. Results are discussed within a cognitive neoassociationistic framework for aggressive behavior.

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