The bitter taste of revenge: Negative affect, depression and anxiety

Abstract

Revenge is one of the possible responses to a transgression, a way to take control over the offender and making them suffer. Nevertheless, research has shown that avengers delude themselves into thinking that they will feel better when they have acted. Actually, taking vengeance protracts the negative emotional states, contributing to negative feelings and ruminations. So far, no study has investigated the mediational role of Negative Affect in the association between revenge and depression, and revenge and anxiety. 274 adult participants were tested with the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the State-Trait Anxiety Scale (STAI-Y), the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS), and the Transgression-Related Interpersonal Motivations Inventory-18 (TRIM-18). Mediational regression analyses showed that participants who were more vengeful were also more likely to be anxious and depressed. Therefore, interventions aimed at reducing vengeful feelings and ruminations, could be an effective resource for well-being in clinical settings.

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Correspondence to Barbara Barcaccia.

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We confirm that this work is original and has not been published elsewhere nor is it currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. All authors approved the manuscript and this submission. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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Barcaccia, B., Salvati, M., Pallini, S. et al. The bitter taste of revenge: Negative affect, depression and anxiety. Curr Psychol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-020-00643-1

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Keywords

  • Revenge
  • Negative affect
  • Depression
  • Anxiety