Student Research Projects

Gun Safety or Gun Control: The Relationships among Attitudes towards Weapons, Aggressive Tendencies, and Students' Self-esteem

Student Anastasia Hernandez, '17
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Psychology
Course PSY 480: Original Research Project

Abstract

This study provides an analysis of college student\'s psychological predispositions and their ideologies about gun usage. Specifically it examines the relationship between attitudes towards guns, aggressive tendencies, and self-esteem. While previous research in psychology has studied at least two of these variables, it has often failed to incorporate all three. The sample used was gathered from undergraduate students enrolled at Virginia Wesleyan College. Correlational methods were used to examine data collected from an online survey containing self-report questionnaires, including the Attitudes Towards Guns Scale, the Reactive-Proactive Aggression Questionnaire, and Rosenberg\\\'s Self-Esteem Scale. Different subscales pertaining to beliefs on crime, protection, and rights were also considered. No significant correlations were found between attitudes towards guns, aggression, and self-esteem nor between the various subscales. One possibility for the lack of correlation may have been that participants were influenced by social desirability, an issue addressed in the limitations portion of this study.