The Moderating Role of Emotion Regulation in Relationship Between Narcissism and Cyberbullying

Keywords: cyberbullying, cybervictimization, cognitive reappraisal, expressive suppression, narcissistic admiration, narcissistic rivalry


Along with the growing role of new technological solutions, we are becoming more and more exposed to the negative consequences of electronic forms of contact. Therefore, the aim of the study was to investigate the relationship between cyberbullying, both from the perpetrators’ and victims’ perspectives, and emotion regulation strategies and narcissism. It was hypothesized that cyberbullying correlates positively with emotion suppression and narcissistic rivalry and negatively with cognitive reappraisal and narcissistic admiration. Within cybervictimization, a positive relationship was predicted with emotion suppression and narcissistic rivalry, and a negative relationship with narcissistic admiration. Additionally, a model assuming moderation of emotion regulation strategies in the relationship between cyberbullying perpetration and narcissistic rivalry was analyzed. Students aged 19–26 years (N = 208, 49.5% female) participated in the study and completed the following online questionnaires: the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire, the European Cyberbullying Intervention Project Questionnaire, and the Narcissistic Admiration and Rivalry Questionnaire. The results indicated that cybervictimization was positively related to emotion suppression, and that narcissistic rivalry was positively related to cyberbullying and cybervictimization. The tested model of moderation was not validated for both emotion regulation strategies. The results of the research have practical implications and confirm the need for further research in this field.


Arato, N., Zsido, A. N., Lenard, K., & Labadi, B. (2020). Cybervictimization and cyberbullying: The role of socio-emotional skills. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11, 1–8.

Back, M. D., Kufner, A. C. P., Dufner, M., Gerlach, T. M., Rauthmann, J. F., & Denissen, J. J. A. (2013). Narcissistic admiration and rivalry: Disentangling the bright and dark sides of narcissism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 105(6), 1013–1037.

Balakrishnan, V. (2018). Actions, emotional reactions and cyberbullying – From the lens of bullies, victims, bully-victims and bystanders among Malaysian young adults. Telematics and Informatics, 35(5), 1190–1200.

Baroncelli, A., & Ciucci, E. (2014). Unique effects of different components of trait emotional intelligence in traditional bullying and cyberbullying. Journal of Adolescence, 37(6), 807–815.

Bingol, T. Y. (2018). Determining the predictors of self-efficacy and cyber bullying. International Journal of Higher Education, 7(2), 138–143.

Braunstein, L. M., Gross, J. J., & Ochsner, K. N. (2017). Explicit and implicit emotion regulation: A multi-level framework. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 12(10), 1545–1557.

Brighi, A., Ortega, R., Pyżalski, J., Scheithauer, H., Smith, P. K., Tsormpatzoudis, H., ... , & Thompson, F. (2012). European cyberbullying intervention project questionnaire (ECIPQ). Unpublished questionnaire.

Butler, E. A., Egloff, B., Wilhelm, F. H., Smith, N. C., Erickson, E. A., & Gross, J. J. (2003). The Social Consequences of Expressive Suppression. Emotion, 3(1), 48–67.

Cheshure, A., Zeigler-Hill, V., Sauls, D., Vrabel, J. K., & Lehtman, M. J. (2020). Narcissism and emotion dysregulation: Narcissistic admiration and narcissistic rivalry have divergent associations with emotion regulation difficulties. Personality and Individual Differences, 154, 109679.

Chudal, R., Tiiri, E., Brunstein Klomek, A., Ong, S. H., Fossum, S., Kaneko, H., Kolaitis, G., Lesinskiene, S., Li, L., Huong, M. N., Praharaj, S. K., Sillanmaki, L., Slobodskaya, H. R., Srabstein, J. C., Wiguna, T., Zamani, Z., & Sourander, A. (April 2021). Victimization by traditional bullying and cyberbullying and the combination of these among adolescents in 13 European and Asian countries. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

den Hamer, A. H., & Konijn, E. A. (2016). Can emotion regulation serve as a tool in combating cyberbullying? Personality and Individual Differences, 102, 1–6.

Dong, Y., Wen, W., Zhang, D., & Fang, Y. (2020). The relationships between narcissistic admiration, rivalry, and interpersonal trust in adolescents: The mediating effect of ostracism experience. Children and Youth Services Review, 119(59), 105521.

Erreygers, S., Vandebosch, H., Vranjes, I., Baillien, E., & De Witte, H. (2018). The interplay of negative experiences, emotions and affective styles in adolescents’ cybervictimization: A moderated mediation analysis. Computers in Human Behavior, 81, 223–234.

George, D., Mallery, P. (2016). IBM SPSS statistics 23 step by step: A simple guide and reference. Routledge.

Goldin, P. R., McRae, K., Ramel, W., & Gross, J. J. (2009). The neural bases of negative emotions: Reappraisal and suppression of emotions. Psiquiatria Biologica, 16(2), 70–83.

Gross, J. J. (2001). Emotion regulation in adulthood: Timing is everything. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10(6), 214–219.

Gross, J. J. (2002). Emotion regulation: affective, cognitive, and social consequences. Psychophysiology, 39(3), 281–291.

Hayes, A. F. (2017). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. Guilford.

Jenaro, C., Flores, N., & Frias, C. P. (2018). Systematic review of empirical studies on cyberbullying in adults: What we know and what we should investigate. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 38, 113–122.

Jenaro, C., Flores, N., Vega, V., Cruz, M., Perez, M. C., & Torres, V. A. (2018). Cyberbullying among adults with intellectual disabilities: Some preliminary data. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 72, 265–274.

John, O. P., & Gross, J. J. (2004). Healthy and unhealthy emotion regulation: Personality processes, individual differences, and life span development. Journal of Personality, 72(6), 1301–1334.

Kobylińska, D. (2015). Kwestionariusz Regulacji Emocji [Emotion Regulation Questionnaire] (translation by authors’ permission – J. J. Gross & O. P. John). Retrieved February 14, 2021, from

Lange, R. (Ed.). (2021). Nastolatki 3.0. Raport z ogólnopolskiego badania uczniów [Teenagers 3.0: Report on Polish national survey of school students], Warszawa: NASK-PIB. Retrieved September 30, 2021, from,RAPORT-Z-BADAN-NASTOLATKI-30-2021.html

Li, Q., Luo, Y., Hao, Z., Smith, B., Guo, Y., & Tyrone, C. (2021). Risk factors of cyberbullying perpetration among school-aged children across 41 countries: A perspective of routine activity theory. International Journal of Bullying Prevention, 3(3), 168–180.

Locke, K. D. (2009). Aggression, narcissism, self-esteem, and the attribution of desirable and humanizing traits to self versus others. Journal of Research in Personality, 43(1), 99–102.

Lonigro, A., Schneider, B. H., Laghi, F., Baiocco, R., Pallini, S., & Brunner, T. (2015). Is cyberbullying related to trait or state anger? Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 46(3), 445–454.

Low, R. S. T ., Overall, N. C., Hammond, M. D., & Girme, Y. U. (2017). Supplemental material for emotional suppression during personal goal pursuit impedes goal strivings and achievement. Emotion, 17(2), 208–223.

Miller, J. D., Hoffman, B. J., Gaughan, E. T., Gentile, B., Maples, J., & Keith Campbell, W. (2011). Grandiose and vulnerable narcissism: A nomological network analysis. Journal of Personality, 79(5), 1013–1042.

Rogoza, R., & Danieluk, B. (2021). Linking adolescent and adult narcissism research: A contribution by the narcissistic admiration and rivalry concept. Journal of Research in Personality, 93.

Rogoza, R., Rogoza, M., & Wyszyńska, P. (2016). Polska adaptacja modelu narcystycznego podziwu i rywalizacji [Polish adaptation of narcissistic admiration and rivalry]. Polskie Forum Psychologiczne, 21(3), 410–431.

Şahin, M. (2012). The relationship between the cyberbullying/cybervictimization and loneliness among adolescents. Children and Youth Services Review, 34(4), 834–837.

Schunk, F., Zeh, F., & Trommsdorff, G. (2021). Cybervictimization and well-being among adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic: The mediating roles of emotional self-efficacy and emotion regulation. Computers in Human Behavior, 126, 107035.

Scott, J. P., Dilillo, D., Maldonado, R. C., & Watkins, L. E. (2015). Negative urgency and emotion regulation strategy use: Associations with displaced aggression. Aggressive Behavior, 41(5), 502–512.

Smith, P. K., Mahdavi, J., Carvalho, M., Fisher, S., Russell, S., & Tippett, N. (2008). Cyberbullying: Its nature and impact in secondary school pupils. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 49(4), 376–385.

Sorrentino, A., Baldry, A. C., Farrington, D. P., & Blaya, C. (2019). Epidemiology of cyberbullying across Europe: Differences between countries and genders. Educational Sciences: Theory and Practice, 19(2), 74–91.

Thomson, R. A., Overall, N. C., Cameron, L. D., & Low, R. S. T. (2018). Perceived regard, expressive suppression during conflict, and conflict resolution. Journal of Family Psychology, 32(6), 722–732.

Twardowska-Staszek, E., & Zych, I. (2019). Bullying i cyberbullying wśród dzieci i młodzieży. Analiza porównawcza wynikow badań prowadzonych w Polsce i Hiszpanii. Wyzwania dla profilaktyki. Studia Paedagogica Ignatiana, 22(3), 115.

Veiga Simao, A. M., Costa Ferreira, P., Pereira, N., Oliveira, S., Paulino, P., Rosa, H., Ribeiro, R., Coheur, L., Carvalho, J. P., & Trancoso, I. (2021). Prosociality in cyberspace: Developing emotion and behavioral regulation to decrease aggressive communication. Cognitive Computation, 13(3), 736–750.

Vranjes, I., Baillien, E., Vandebosch, H., Erreygers, S., & De Witte, H. (2018). Kicking someone in cyberspace when they are down: Testing the role of stressor evoked emotions on exposure to workplace cyberbullying. Work and Stress, 32(4), 379–399.

Wang, L., & Jiang, S. (2021). The effects of strain and negative emotions on adolescent cyberbullying perpetration: An empirical test of general strain theory. Current Psychology.

Zeigler-Hill, V., Vrabel, J. K., McCabe, G. A., Cosby, C. A., Traeder, C. K., Hobbs, K. A., & Southard, A. C. (2019). Narcissism and the pursuit of status. Journal of Personality, 87(2), 310–327.

Zhu, C., Huang, S., Evans, R., & Zhang, W. (2021). Cyberbullying among adolescents and children: A comprehensive review of the global situation, risk factors, and preventive measures. Frontiers in Public Health, 9, 1–12.