Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP, Chair, Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, Chairperson

Second Advisor

Petra Kottsieper, PhD

Third Advisor

Rayna McKinnon, PsyD


Aggression among those with mental illnesses has been extensively reviewed. Research has shown that aggression within an institutional or hospital setting, that is presently termed “Institutional Aggression,” threatens the ability to provide a safe and therapeutic environment for both patients and staff. Although earlier measures have been designed to address this construct, the present study examines Institutional Aggression based on the parameters of the Overt Aggression Scale (OAS; Yudofsky, Silver, Jackson, Endicott, & Williams, 1986). The purpose of the current study was to determine the predictive relationship between clinical and sociodemographic factors and the rate of Institutional Aggression with the intention to create a risk assessment screening measure. Although significant predictive relationships were revealed, results offered little information about characteristics of those likely to commit acts of aggression due to small percentages of the variability accounted for by the model. Future research is necessary to further investigate the way in which static and dynamic variables interact with one another in order to develop a clearer picture of the reasons why individuals engage in aggression, both within and exterior to institutional settings. With a greater understanding of the aforementioned, targeted interventions may be developed to address the global concerns both of improving the therapeutic environment and of limiting aggressive behaviors.