Date of Completion


Thesis Type

College of Arts and Science Honors


Psychological Science

First Advisor

Rex Forehand


Pubertal Timing; Relational Aggression; Internalizing Psychopathology


The current study examined relational aggression as a potential mechanism that explains the association between off-time pubertal development and internalizing problems. Youth gender was also examined as a moderator for this association. Parents of 372 children between the ages of 8 and 17 were recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Parents responded to demographic information about themselves, as well as information about their child’s pubertal timing, relational aggression, and anxiety and depressive symptoms. Findings indicated that early pubertal timing was associated with both youth anxiety and depressive symptoms indirectly through relational aggression. This study is the first to examine relational aggression as a mechanism by which early pubertal timing leads to internalizing problems. The findings suggest that relational aggression could be a target for intervention among early developing youth who are at risk for internalizing problems.