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Differences between trolling and cyberbullying and examination of trolling from self-determination theory perspective

Manuoğlu, Elif
This dissertation aimed to investigate the differences between trolling and cyberbullying and then examine trolling behaviors from Self-Determination Theory perspective. With the rise of the Internet use, online trolling and cyberbullying emerged as a new form of online harassment and become widespread. However, differences between trolling and cyberbullying are vague in the literature. Moreover, previous research revealed diverse motivations for trolling without a theoretical framework. Before the main data collection, qualitative interviews were performed with self-confessed tolls (8 female) to obtain deeper understanding about the nature of trolling. After the qualitative interviews, 809 university students were participated in Study 1. To investigate the differences between trolling and cyberbullying, dark-triad, self-esteem, and need for recognition were assessed and only need for recognition scores varied significantly. Moreover, regression analyses showed that relational aggression, rather than overt aggression moderated the associations between trolling/cyberbullying and dark triad/need for recognition. In Study 2, propositions of self-determination theory, basic needs satisfaction and aspirations, were utilized to predict trolling behaviors. Six hundred and ninety-five university students were participated in the study. Mainly, gender moderated the association between relatedness need satisfaction and trolling. In the current dissertation, the results demonstrated that the robust association between dark triad and online antisocial behaviors has been shown once again. In addition, motivations behind trolling behaviors were explored with a theory-based approach. Future research should continue to examine understudied trolling behaviors to increase the knowledge about the construct. Implications and future directions were discussed.