Bad romance: Exploring the factors that influence revenge porn sharing amongst romantic partners
Sirianni, Joseph M.
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The study of revenge in a romantic context has steadily gained traction in the social sciences. Researchers have been interested in exploring what influences romantic revenge, but most studies have failed to specify the type of romantic revenge individuals carry out and also ignored the impact of technology on the enactment of revenge. The current study addressed these issues by examining a specific type of romantic revenge enabled by technology- revenge porn. Revenge porn is the nonconsensual sharing of a romantic partner's sexual images through the Internet or mobile phones. Although this behavior has been widely covered by the mainstream media, it has been largely ignored by the scientific community. Two provocation conditions (high severity and low severity) were designed to act as a stimulus to elicit responses from participants. Following exposure to one of the provocation stimuli, participants (N = 200) answered questions designed to examine the motivations that were most likely to lead them to participate in disseminating revenge porn. Results reveal that dispositional vengefulness, vicarious experience, and expected outcomes played a role in predicting the likelihood for sharing revenge porn. Specifically, individuals who were angered more by a provocation were motivated to share based on outcomes directed towards hurting their partner. On the other hand, individuals who were angered less were likely to share based on vicarious experience and the desire to alleviate negative feelings about themselves following a romantic provocation. Moderation tests revealed a stronger effect on the motivation to alleviate negative feelings and sharing revenge porn for those in the low provocation group. Implications for future research on revenge porn are discussed.