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Sadism is a Lower-Order Facet of Schadenfreude

Authors: Drew Parton; David Chester;

Sadism is a Lower-Order Facet of Schadenfreude

Abstract

Sadism represents a predisposition towards enjoying the suffering that we cause others. However, this conceptualization of Sadism closely abuts that of schadenfreude—the tendency to find pleasure in others’ suffering. The relationship between trait Sadism and trait schadenfreude has gone understudied. Using latent construct modeling with a cross-sectional and diverse sample of 322 undergraduate participants, we found that the bi-factor model of Sadism and schadenfreude that best fit the data articulated Sadism as a sub-facet of schadenfreude. Sadism was more strongly related to physical aggressiveness, anger, and antagonism than schadenfreude, suggesting a distinct nomological profile. Future research should seek to identify the mechanisms that translate a passive, schadenfreudic disposition into actual acts of Sadistic aggression.

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