How the human is the catalyst: Personality, aggressive fantasy, and proactive-reactive aggression among users of social media

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Technology users frequently experience online aggression in the forms of cyberbullying and/or trolling (Pew Research Center, 2014), but there exists only a limited understanding of what promotes these negative behaviors. The current study focuses on reasons why individuals may act aggressively in an online environment. Specifically, two types of online aggression (proactive and reactive) were examined across individual differences including personality and the presence of aggressive fantasies. Findings show that the personality characteristics of extraversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability predicted proactive aggression, while agreeableness and emotional stability predicted reactive aggression. Further, agreeableness, emotional stability and intellect predicted aggressive fantasies, and aggressive fantasies predicted both proactive and reactive aggression. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.


Aggressive fantasies; Personality; Proactive/reactive aggression; Social media

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