Psychology Ph.D. Dissertations

The Relation of Response Evaluation and Decision Processes and Latent Mental Structures to Aggressive and Prosocial Response Selection

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Eric F. Dubow

Second Advisor

Thomas R. Chibucos (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Dara Musher-Eizenman (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Catherine H. Stein (Committee Member)


The present study examined the relation among Response Evaluation and Decision (RED; Fontaine & Dodge, 2006) processes, latent mental structures, and aggressive and prosocial response selection in a sample of 215 children. Results showed that aggressive-supporting RED processes and latent mental structures independently predicted children’s selection of aggressive responses in hypothetical peer provocation scenarios. Support was found for the proposed model whereby RED processes mediated the relation between latent mental structures and response selection. Aggressive-supporting normative beliefs and low affective control of anger predicted favorable RED for aggressive responses (i.e., high efficacy and valuation of aggressive responses; high expectancy and valuation of positive outcomes resulting from aggressive behavior), which in turn predicted aggressive response selection. Examinations of the relation among prosocial-supporting RED processes, latent mental structures, and response selection yielded similar results. Prosocial-supporting normative beliefs and high affective control of anger predicted favorable RED for prosocial responses, which predicted selection of prosocial responses to peer provocation.