Trolling is Evil: It's Proven to be Linked With Strong Mental Illnesses


Trolling is proven to be linked to strong mental disorders

A study was published by Doctor Erin E. Buckels confirmed what we already knew, trolls are horrible, sick, vile people.


Let's start by getting our definitions straight: An Internet troll is someone who comes into a discussion and posts comments designed to upset or disrupt the conversation. Often, in fact, it seems like there is no real purpose behind their comments except to upset everyone else involved. Trolls will lie, exaggerate, and offend to get a response.

"In two online studies (total N = 1215), respondents completed personality inventories and a survey of their Internet commenting styles. Overall, strong positive associations emerged among online commenting frequency, trolling enjoyment, and troll identity, pointing to a common construct underlying the measures. Both studies revealed similar patterns of relations between trolling and the Dark Tetrad of personality: trolling correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, using both enjoyment ratings and identity scores. Of all personality measures, sadism showed the most robust associations with trolling and, importantly, the relationship was specific to trolling behavior. Enjoyment of other online activities, such as chatting and debating, was unrelated to sadism. Thus cyber-trolling appears to be an Internet manifestation of everyday sadism".

Trolls = Haters=Sick

They conducted two online studies with over 1,200 people, giving personality tests to each subject along with a survey about their Internet commenting behavior. They were looking for evidence that linked trolling with the "Dark Tetrad" of personality traits: Narcissism, Machiavellianism, Psychopathy, and Sadism.

They found that Dark Tetrad scores were highest among people who said trolling was their favorite Internet activity.🙂

"The associations between sadism and GAIT (Global Assessment of Internet Trolling) scores were so strong that it might be said that online trolls are prototypical everyday sadists." rolls truly enjoy making you feel bad. Both trolls and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress of others". (E.Buckelsa)

So, now you know trolls are very sick people and there is even evidence to prove it, next time you encounter a troll online, remember: These trolls are some truly difficult sick sadistic people ( it's not you it's them ).

It is your suffering that brings them pleasure, so the best thing you can do is ignore them if your religious maybe pray for them. They clearly need therapy at the very, very least.


Buckels, Erin E., Paul D. Trapnell, and Delroy L. Paulhus. "Trolls just want to have fun." Personality and Individual Differences67 (2014): 97-102.

Trolling is Evil: It's Proven to be Linked With Strong Mental Illnesses
Add Opinion

Most Helpful Girls

  • Anonymous
    I agree with this. That's the nature of the Internet unfortunately
    Some people hide behind their anonymity and get their kicks out of being mean to others. I think people who do this have no life and shouldn't be taken seriously..

    Normal people are outside laughing with their friends.. How sad can you be to laugh at the negative reaction that a controversial comment cause on people? So yea basically DON'T feed the trolls
    Is this still revelant?
  • BrittBratt2416
    Anybody can be asshole, doesn't exactly mean you are mentally ill or that rude behavior is mental illness. It's just how humans are sometimes unfortunately.
    Is this still revelant?

Most Helpful Guys

  • Clarke498
    Of course that's proven. Everyone knows trolls are just "people" that really lack attention so they try their best to "trigger" someone so they would pay attention to them. It's sad. Really sad.
    Is this still revelant?
  • jacquesvol
    Trolling is Evil: It's Proven to be Linked With Strong Mental Illnesses
    Is this still revelant?

Scroll Down to Read Other Opinions

What Girls & Guys Said

  • Deathraider
    Define trolling.

    You also yet to show that it is evil. Your argument is nonsequitur. Just because trolls show a correlation with sadistic personality, doesn't mean it automatically means the troll is evil. Let's break it down.

    Firstly, you have yet to establish that sadism is evil. Firstly, we need to ask what even is evil? Evil is the things we ought not do, and good are the things we ought to do. There's a key thing with both of these. They have to be conscious choices one could make and these choices have to affect others. While sadism affects other, it fails to meet the first requirement. Sadism is not evil because one cannot choose to be sadistic.

    Secondly, you fail to show how trolling is evil. Just because sadistic people like to troll, is the trolling itself evil? While it follows the two requirement, first being that it is a conscious choice and secondly that it affects others, that list of requirements could only tell us that we can morally debate about this. But the thing is what we ought to do and what we ought not do are both very subjective questions.

    So in conclusion, you got your facts right, but your interpretation of what that fact is saying is wrong.
  • passinby
    Yes I agree so quit doing it. Whining over snark comments and misinterpreting dry humor might also be be an equivalent.
  • andreasderjuengere
    All fair, and correct. However - the term - and/or label - ''troll'' (like numerous others as well) often is mis-used or mis-interpreted. Example: As a (philosophic) cynic, my contributions sometimes are perceived ''trolly'', where actually they aim to inject thoughts into voids.
  • may04
    Interesting--though I do wonder if people find it easier to forget their empathy when online because they're not actually facing facing someone. Sitting behind a computer does de-humanize our interactions quite a bit, and I wonder if these trolls feelings would change if they were forced to meet the people they are attacking--like if it wold give them a reality check... just some thoughts
  • englisc
    You mean "dark triad" traits, not dark tetrad.

    Interestingly, many studies show that women are more attracted to men who have dark triad personalities:
  • NerdInDenial
    However the act of trolling is not common even the survey suggests that only 5% of people enjoy doing it. Moreover the study doesn’t mean that it’s a 100% guarantee; there are still a few trollers who are not sadists. That’s how confidence intervals work; I’m assuming it’s 95%. Ultimately, this study proves that you should not feed the trolls because if you do not show distress, they will most likely leave you alone and move on
  • nothin134
    There are two types of trolling, ones that like to get people worked up over silly things vs the ones that will say inhuman things. I do troll like the first one. Even in person. I like to get people annoyed alittle to get a small reaction. Maybe its my way of wanting attention due to childhood neglect. But the second one i could never do. I see death threats and horrible things. Those i wouldn't be surprised if they were psychopathic
    • allie97

      We all troll sometimes. The key is to know when to stop and when our behaviour is really hurtful to someone else...

  • jellyroo
    A study doesn't confirm, it suggests based on its findings. There are a billion studies out there and many are flawed, you shouldn't use one single study to set something in stone.
  • TomasLyy
    oh please its not a mental illness. everytime something is wrong doesn't mean its a mental illness. When someone's sad they dont have depression, when someone's angry they don't have anger issues. When someone's an online troll, they're just cowards who live unsatisfied, or sad lives.
    • xkildy

      That's not 100 percent correct , If a person is sad enough they will develop depression , If a person is angry enough they do in fact have a problem Its only natural to get a little angry at stuff but when you face turns red from your temper flares up & you knock over a chair shouting words not fit for church you have a problem

    • TomasLyy

      @xkildy your statement doesn't contradict my own

  • Taylor_C
    The definition of internet troll is not correct. Troll is not the same thing as a hater.
    • Taylor_C

      Replying to myself here, but I got to say, that study is seriously flawed. Trolling isn´t one behaviour. It´s a mix of behaviors that are unwanted in a certain situational context. All of those behaviors are not traits constituting mental illness. Trolling is disrupting a conversation. This can be done for many reasons. Mental illness is rarely a factor, just go check out political twitter for instance. In many cases trolls want to disrupt a politically sensitive conversation. Some trolls may indeed be mentally ill. I have mayself seen examples of it. However, mental illness cannot explain the majority of trolling cases. Also, the author is presupposing the troll is doing it because they´re sadists and like causing "pain" in others. Not true in most cases. Just consider the Russian "troll factories". They have a political purpose, and mental illness got nothing to do with it. That study is unscientific and seriously flawed.

  • sawno
    Trolling is Evil: It's Proven to be Linked With Strong Mental Illnesses
  • bamesjond0069
    When all you have to say is "Trump" and some people will scream and cry and write big paragraphs about how racist and homophobic you are, how could one not enjoy doing that all day every day?

    I struggle to even understand how these people exist in the first place that mere words online can ruin their day. Like how did they not get offended on the way to pouring a bowl of cereal and then get so into a crying fit they starved? Lmao.
  • NoPoliticsPlease
    I think in some cases yes in others no people who troll you and repeatedly reply about nonsense yes they probably are mentally ill but like going on a site and getting a rise out of people that is just simply fun I mean seriously who doesn't like playing the bad guy?
  • Zerxz
    I troll all the time though and I'm pretty sure I don't feel "sadistic glee at the distress of others" lmao- I just laugh at my own troll comments whether or not anyone responds to it.
  • JackJPershing
    What I believe to be a fatal flaw in the study is this quote, ""In two online studies (total N = 1215), respondents completed personality inventories and a survey of their Internet commenting styles." Online, so anonymous, and respondents, so only those who wanted to answer. Also, unless there is a way to directly compare the prevalence among those defined as "trolls" with the general population it is not scientifically valid.
  • castratedwhiteguy
    Unfortunately, the troll definition has now been expanded. on places like Twitter, Facebook and Reddit, to include Republicans, Trump supporters and people who just have unconventional political views. There are places on the internet where I would be accused of trolling and I'd be banned from posting, no matter how polite my comments were. The politically correct thought police are destroying free speech on the internet.
  • computergeek357
    I find that trolls fall into one of a couple places
    A.) they are so lonely that they are desperate for attention, whether positive or negative.
    B.) they are unsure of themselves and actually believe that in baiting someone else they are coming closer to self realization.
    C.) they really don't care for people in general and are likely to fight with someone even if the other person is actually saying something the troll believes in.
    D.) All of the above
  • ZeussLightningBolt
    Well, if you make a comment that goes against the point of view of the other posters, of course it's gonna piss them off, but that doesn't necessarily mean you're trolling.
    • allie97

      It depends how you state your opinion.. Trolls are very easy to spot. They often make bad jokes or super exaggerated/sarcastic comments

  • Aynsof
    Well I have no doubt that people who troll have some serious issues they are not dealing with
    However I have to disagree with your equating trolls and haters while both may have something wrong with them it is not the same thing at all
  • Uglyman97
    I'm no troll but I do disagree with a lot of people and force my side of the argument with them because I always feel like I'm right (due to beING a genius)
    And everyother dumb as in this world is wrong
  • CubsterShura
    I have a cousin who did trolling online and she was mentalli I'll. Now she is so much better and doing good in life after getting treatment. I don't hate trolls, I pity them.
  • HereIbe
    Do you even know what trolling is? Trolling is intentionally posting inflammatory and provocative statements specifically to elicit hot-headed, whiny, keyboard-mashing responses from the self-important and thin-skinned.
  • xkildy
    I actual think this a great take , I agree with it. I have had my share of internet trolls though out the years with online gaming and or forums with such in mind. Once a person spends so much time on the computer and they forget what sun light fells like they become less social more troubles start to rise and then later there completely adsorbed in to the online life where the outside world of life is not something that want. BAD thing is " how do they make money " That's another question for a different time
  • drdidier2
    Trolls exist due to anonymity. Maybe it's even good they can do it: if they are psychos, then perhaps they unleash some of their destructive energy and do not do bad things IRL. Who knows...
    • agreed. most trolls are cowards who ONLY do their crap from hiding.

  • emmily2396
    They have an antisocial disorder for sure, I didn't need a specialist to know that. Getting satisfaction from other people's negative emotional is not a trait of a healthy person
  • Kabluie
    Negativity is usually part of mental illnesses like depression. There is also the whole being able to hide behind a keyboard part of the equation.

    Just don't feed the trolls, let them starve.
  • dreamstar72
    Sorry had to comment because of the picture. So this is what my dog does on my laptop troll for studs. Really she always puts her paw on my laptop moving it around.
  • Celtero
    So you're gonna let a bunch of loonies hurt your feels? Just tell them to fuck off and move on, don't take yourself so seriously and you won't attract people trying to make you look like a fool.
  • GreatnessBack
    This sounds all well and good, but research put into assholes on the internet?
    Are you sure this whole myTake isn't a trolling post. lol
  • IntuitiveMuffin
    I completely agree. You're a dumb bitch. Oh sorry that was just my illness. I have internet tourettes.
  • xyz94
    This article is missing something (or the study it's about it is) - how is 'trolling' defined here really? What consists of 'bullying'? It could be a wide spectrum of things.
  • SngBirdy
    I disagree heavily. I love to troll on the internet, but im the nicest person you'll ever meet in real life.
  • ImSoSquishy
    i don't think i'm sick in the head but i do think trolling people who are aggressive towards me is fun! especially in online games. like the people who gets mad easily in online games. there were times i couldn't get to them in time to cast a heal because he/she ran off ahead and got killed like a idiot, but then they would shift the blame on me for not getting there in time to cast a heal on him/her because i decided to stay with the group/party. so then i would only heal them a little bit, dance around his/her corpse and not case a revive, sit next to the corpse, or revive him when enemies are around and let them get killed again repeatedly. it just drives them nuts and i enjoy listening to these aggressive people getting mad on text chat or voice chat.
  • John_Bouff
    "Doctor Erin E. Buckels is a stuck-up bitch"
    A post-diacritical assessment of why "doctor" Erin E. Buckels is a stuck-up bitch who got her degree on a liberal arts college


    The internet (1993-2018)
  • puffynips
    Any a crowd at a party you have a sect of unsavory on a planet of 6 billion the extremes are off the charts. If our justice system acted swifter our intelligence agencies worked together as one team we could take the "sick" out in one sweep. MY idea is simple
    Take all the states and esch state was open to that type of person.
    Let's say Amsterdam Party city for weed and Prostitution.
    So if that isn't your thing dont live there.
    And the Just Puritans could Have Cleavland.
    Trolls would have a setup liked
    Escape from LA. Where the state had a Trump like wall and they all could be together separately from others and the world could live in harmony and free
  • DashboardLight
    Ok, so if I think you're trolling right now, or your posts make you a troll, you would automatically be a mentally ill person?
    • allie97

      That's not what she said.. She said scientists found a link between those two things; that trolls often might face other mental issues. We all troll sometimes, but if you do it often or get satisfaction about it, then sure there is something else going on..

  • Rred-Wolf
    This doesn't really surprise me. I think I'll talk to my professor of psychology about this.
  • Logorithim
    That's interesting, I thought they just had a weird sense of humor or were gaslighting.
  • Blightly
    All i know is of the 7 million people on this planet, a few hundred billion will prob be trolls

    basic math
  • grega239
    hahahahahahah. trolling is deliberatly getting on someones nerves and have a laugh when they flip their shit.
  • drdudebro69
    lololololololol bullshit. I hate trolls = they're mentally ill. Thats like the morons who say Trump is mentally ill or hillary is evil.
  • FakeName123
    Have you actually read it and tried to understand the research?

    It's pretty flawed to make it simple. Mainly, because it's pretty much low-effort in terms of putting the numbers into context rather than just using the average of the results. There is simply no clarification, if your average troll is more likely to be linked to teh "Dark Tetrad" or if people of the "Dark Tetrad" are just more drawn to trolling and thus influence the average.

    Additionally the personal assessments in that report read pretty biased.
  • Smegskull
    So. I laugh when I see skaters land their nuts on a railing. I don't see the difference and I don't see how it's an illness or even morally objectionable.
  • ATuairiscean
    Great take but one slight quibble which I see someone has already mentioned in the comments the 2018 term Troll as seemed to move away from its original internet meaning like "Catfish".
    In its purest sense trolls are a mixture of funny trolls + Disruptive trolls + haters, the latter two are a waste of oxygen but the funny troll are good they are like comic relief in a heavy Shakespeare play once they are not abusive or disruptive , they usually play on the words of a question or a comment or give a comic answer.
    ALL THAT SAID Abusive and Disruptive trolling is a form of evil and could well be a personality disorder
  • loveslongnails
    Hmmm... there needed to be a study and "evidence" to confirm that trolls are ill people? I hope the cost didn't come out of my taxes !!
  • up_64
    And who are trolls. Let me guess anyone to the right of karl marx is a 4chan posting nazi alt uber right kkk nazi.
  • zoe2187
    I agree. I think anyone that disagrees needs to reconsider their mental health. Great myTake.
  • Lance1965
    I quit a site once purely because of some really nasty trolls. No one deserves death-threats or constant bullying.
    Thank god I'm only dark triad, therefore not a troll lol

    Nice take!
  • JustWorthlessMe