Date of Conferral







Jane Lyons


Researchers have found that social aggression has increased among African American females. Researchers have reported that the family value systems of many African American families endorse aggressive behaviors. Beliefs of fighting verbally and physically for self-worth and equality have been embedded in the socialization process for some African American females. It is important to explore the influence of family values on socially aggressive behaviors among this population. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of African American females in early adulthood and to understand how their socially aggressive behaviors are influenced by their family values. The theoretical framework for this study was social learning theory along with aggression, a subset of social learning theory. The research question was designed to explore how African American females in early adulthood experience and perceive social aggression and family values. Ten African American females were interviewed. Moustakas' method of data analysis was used to identify 4 themes: common family values, learned socially aggressive behaviors, acting out, and handling conflict. Understanding the behaviors and experiences of African American females with socially aggressive behaviors could result in positive social change, first, by increasing knowledge about the origins of socially aggressive behaviors among this population and then by improving guidance and counseling for African American females involved in socially aggressive behaviors.