Date of Award
Bachelor of Science
individuals, narcissism, research, aggressive, higher
What causes people to bully others? Some evidence suggests that being the victim of bullying can cause a person to become aggressive, but research on the topic is flawed. The current research attempts to improve on prior research to examine (1) whether being bullied causes individuals to become bullies, themselves, and (2) whether there are personality traits or situational variables that predispose individuals to respond to bullying by becoming aggressive. Participants were either included in all three rounds of an online game (Cyberball; Williams et al., 2012), or ostracized to varying degrees. I hypothesized that participants who were ostracized would, in turn, ostracize a bystander in the third round of Cyberball (a measure of relational aggression). Results indicated that after being ostracized themselves, individuals higher in narcissism were more inclusive in the third round, whereas those lower in narcissism were more exclusive. These results challenge prior findings that higher narcissism leads to aggressive behavior, suggesting instead that higher narcissism may in some cases be a protective factor, such that it leads individuals to feel that they will be re-included and therefore should not aggress against peers. This research also suggests that individuals’ expectations (e.g., for re-inclusion) may be an important factor to consider in assessing risk for peer-violence.
Maloney, Molly, "Causes and Consequences of Bullying" (2015). Honors Theses. 353.